Prototype of the Day: Toyota Hino fuel cell bus

January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

toyota fuel cell busThe latest Toyota fuel cell bus prototype is going into operation this week in Toyota City (the firm’s vast manufacturing complex); using a version of the tech also to feature in the Mirai passenger car, it has two 114kW fuel cell stacks, two 110kW/335Nm motors and eight high-pressure hydrogen tanks plus nickel-metal hydride battery, and it’s also capable of supplying power to buildings and other facilities in the event of an emergency and mains outage. The Hino-bodied bus will operate on regular commercial routes, and test results will be fed back to Toyota R&D. More details here.

  • Most cities’ urban transportation planning fails to measure social-equity objectives, such as access to essential services for disadvantaged neighbourhoods, according to research from the School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Montreal. Looking at 18 city transportation plans in metropolitan areas across the US and Canada, the research team concluded the focus was largely on reducing congestion and environmental issues, “partly because traffic speed and certain environmental effects are easier to measure than social-justice considerations, such as access to job opportunities or health care for low-income groups, or balancing the interests of pedestrians and cyclists with those of motorists”, says lead author and assistant professor Kevin Manaugh. “Many of the plans talk a lot about social-equity goals, but these goals are not translated into clearly specified objectives – and it’s not at all clear how the goals are incorporated into decision-making.” However, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego and Chicago were commended for building in clear social-equity indicators and the team has made a series of recommendations to guide planners. More here; full journal article is published in Transport Policy (Vol. 37, January 2015, pp167-176).
  • Yet in the same issue of TP, a nice 10-year case study from Boulder, Colorado showing that investment in pedestrian, cycling and public transport infrastructure brought increased cycling, transit use and a return on investment (walking rose in line with population growth); you gets back what you pay in. The study talks of “evolving travel preferences” supported by “robust non-auto infrastructure”.
  • Looking into those UK new car registration figures for 2014, via the SMMT: the largest annual registrations (2,476,435) since 2004, fourth-largest sales year of all time (after 2002-04), a growth of 9.3% on 2013’s figures (EU-wide sales growth of 5.7%, incidentally), the 34th consecutive month of growth marked in December… Doesn’t look as if the Brits are exactly falling out of love with the motor car and we remain the second-largest EU car market after Germany. Some positive news, at least: the plug-in car market quadrupled, albeit to a still-modest 14,498. Of these plug-ins, all-electric cars accounted for 6,697 (up 167% on last year) and plug-in hybrids 7,821.

 

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