Monday news: Toyota Mirai, and more

November 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

toyota miraiToyota has named its fuel cell vehicle Mirai (“future”, in Japanese). To be launched tomorrow in advance of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the former FCV – a four-door saloon – has a 300-mile range on a tank of hydrogen and can be refuelled in less than five minutes, Toyota’s claimed advantages of hydrogen over electric vehicles. Text of company president Akio Toyoda’s speech here. Honda’s also showing its latest FCV, but production is now delayed till 2016.

  • BMW’s 2-Series Active Tourer is getting a plug-in hybrid option next year, reports Car magazine; a 102bhp motor is to drive the rear wheels in addition to the engine driving the front, making it 4WD.
  • The Atacama Solar Rally has started this week in Chile: 20 solar-fuelled teams are taking their very odd-looking vehicles 870 miles across the Atacama Desert; more here.
  • Wondered what happened to those Coda EVs? A handful of the saloons made by the now-defunct brand have ended up in Golden, Colorado, in what is thought to be the US’s first all-electric car-share. The eThos Electric Car Share scheme is offering short-trip on-demand rentals in the Golden and Denver metropolitan area, powered by locally-generated renewable electricity; more here.
  • The National Trust is trialling an all-electric Land Rover Defender prototype in Wales. Video here. It’s in operation on Snowdon, where the Trust is running hydroelectric electricity generation schemes as well as experiments with heat pumps, biomass and other technologies at its Hafod y Llan farm. More here.
  • The world’s biggest truck… is now electric, reports Green Car Congress. The20m-long, 800-ton GVW BelAZ 75710, in action at a mine in Kuzbass, Russia, features four Siemens traction motors each delivering around 1200kW; it can carry around 450 tonnes of cargo, around the weight of a fully-loaded Airbus A380. However, there’s a slight hitch in its green credentials: it’s powered by electricity from a pair of generators, each driven by a pair of 16-cylinder diesel engines.
  • Over 24,500 plug-in hybrids were sold in the Netherlands last year, where the tech has really taken off – but 80% of Dutch PHEV drivers spend less than half of their time driving in electric mode, according to a survey by Alphabet. Drivers are attracted by the tax breaks for PHEVs, the fleet management firm says, but not actually planning their vehicle-charging properly as they can fall back on their cars’ engines. It has now launched an eMobility app for drivers to better understand their vehicles’ capabilities and potential for fuel- and emissions-saving.
  • Growing algae by busy roads can absorb CO2, an experiment in Geneva found – as well as producing plenty of the green stuff for use in food supplements or even as biomass or in electricity generation. The algae was grown in tubes mounted to a bridge over a highway.
  • Some more details on the USAF trials of EVs and hybrids here, with some data on the V2G aspect – the 42-vehicle fleet’s capable of generating 700kW, enough to power 140 (large) American houses,



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