2017 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle is ready for the mainstream

March 20, 2017 by  
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Fuel-cell vehicles are still pretty foreign to most of us, especially if you live outside of California. Automakers like General Motors, Hyundai , Toyota and Honda have been working on the technology for decades, but we’ve yet to see a model that could bring the technology more mainstream. Toyota got close with the new Mirai , but Honda may be even closer to increasing the public’s acceptance of fuel-cell vehicles with their all-new 2017 Clarity. You’ll recall that this isn’t the first time Honda has released a fuel cell vehicle for public consumption, since in 2008 the first FCX Clarity was leased to a small subset of customers in California. Now almost 10 years later, Honda has made significant improvements to make the Clarity feel even more like a conventional car than any fuel cell vehicle has been able to do before. The styling may still be a bit unconventional, but Honda learned a lot from what customers need with the first FCX Clarity. Related: Honda will offer the Clarity Fuel Cell in electric and plug-in hybrid versions For starters, the new Clarity is now larger with increases to its length and width, which brings its exterior more in-line with the brand’s popular Accord midsize sedan. Honda decided one of the biggest hurdles with the last generation was that its interior also had too many compromises in terms of interior volume and seating capacity. So now the Clarity can fit five passengers, compared to the last model that could only fit four. That’s also a big plus over the Toyota Mirai , which can only fit up to four. How did Honda manage to do this? The FCX Clarity’s fuel cell stack was positioned directly in the middle of the car, which meant that there wasn’t room for a middle passenger in the rear seat. To make room for the fifth passenger in the new Clarity, Honda repositioned the fuel cell stack and powertrain underneath the hood, like a conventional car. Honda couldn’t simply just take the old system and stuff it under the new Clarity’s hood, instead it had to downsize the size of the entire system so that it is now smaller than the brand’s V6 engine. One added benefit is now that the system is so much smaller, that opens the door for more future applications. To make more interior volume and cargo space, Honda also reconfigured the hydrogen storage system, which now consists of two tanks, one under the rear seat and one in the trunk. Having room for five passengers was one of the biggest complaints that buyers had about the last generation, but there was also one other problem – driving range. The last FCX Clarity could only drive up to 240 miles on a tank of hydrogen fuel, but now the new two tank system can hold more hydrogen: 3.93 kg vs 5.46 kg. The nominal pressure of the tanks is also up from 35 MPa to 70 MPa. This also means that the Clarity can now travel further than before with an estimated driving range of 366 miles – which is closer to the driving range of a conventional midsize sedan. Also one of the biggest benefits of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is that it only takes 3-5 minutes to refill its tanks compared to the many hours it takes to recharge an electric vehicle. Now that the Clarity can fit as many passengers as a regular midsize sedan and its driving range is more realistic – there was only one other big hurdle that Honda needed to tackle if it were to achieve its goal of increasing the acceptance of fuel cell vehicles – how it drives. The Clarity’s fuel cell powertrain generates 174 horsepower (up 30%) and 221 lb-ft. of torque (up 17 percent). For comparison, the Honda Accord’s four-cylinder engine generates 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. The upgraded powertrain now has a quicker response and is smoother than before. A new Sport mode also makes it a bit “sportier” when you need it. How did it drive in the real world? Honda achieved its goal of making it feel more like a regular midsize sedan. Around the back country roads of Santa Barbara, the 2017 Clarity drove just as we would expect from the Accord. It wasn’t particularly engaging, but it didn’t need to be. The updated powertrain is much quieter than before and accelerating from a stop was easy and effortless. The differences between the Normal and Sport modes is not as big as you would expect, but it does provide a bit more brake regeneration. On the road, the 2017 Clarity feels planted, quiet and comfortable. Most passengers probably won’t even realize they are in a “non-conventional” fuel cell sedan. Which is what Honda was hoping to achieve with the Clarity. The previous compromises to interior volume, comfort and performance are all pretty much gone now. There’s still one last hurdle to greater acceptance of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles: infrastructure. Currently the Clarity is only on sale in California and that’s because of the number of hydrogen re-fueling stations in the state. But even then there are still only 26 stations currently up and running in California . By the end of 2017 there will be another 20 coming online. Honda hopes to have at least 100 stations up by 2020. On the flip side, the automaker promises to cover the costs of the hydrogen fuel for the entire lease – for a cost of up to $15,000. Related: Toyota FCV Plus hydrogen concept car reveals the automaker’s vision of the future Honda won’t actually sell you a Clarity, so the only way you can get one is if you lease it for three years at $369 a month with 2,868 due at signing. If you’re still not quiet ready to make the jump to a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, there’s still good news. Honda is going to offer three versions of the Clarity: the Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. The Clarity Electric will be an affordable fully-electric version with a driving range around 80 miles, while the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will be the volume leader with a 40 mile electric mode and a 300 mile driving range. Both the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will arrive by the end of the year. So there we have it, Honda’s latest attempt at making the fuel cell vehicle more mainstream is the closest one yet that we’ve seen from any automaker. We can expect others to follow suit; Hyundai is already working on its next fuel cell SUV and General Motors recently announced a partnership to work on fuel cell powertrains. + Honda All images @ Inhabitat and Honda

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2017 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle is ready for the mainstream

Google Street View takes you inside the fiery depths of an active volcano

March 20, 2017 by  
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Have you ever seen an active volcano up close? Most of us haven’t had the opportunity, but now thanks to Google Street View , you can glimpse the fiery depths of one the world’s largest boiling lava lakes. Two explorers repelled down into the Marum crater on the island on Ambrym in Vanuatu , a country of islands around 1000 miles away from Australia, to collect images of the lava lake for Google (and all of us). Forget the relatively tame imagery of city streets. Google went to new extremes to collect dramatic images of Ambrym, from volcanic beaches to a volcano itself. Explorers Geoff Mackley and Chris Horsley helped out by repelling around 1,312 feet down into the Marum crater to gather 360-degree imagery of the massive lava lake, which is about as big as two football fields, according to Google. Mackley said, “You only realize how insignificant humans are when you’re standing next to a giant lake of fiery boiling rock .” Related: Sheep enlisted to bring ‘Google Street View’ to remote Faroe Islands After repelling into the crater, Horsley said, “I hope that by putting this place on the map people will realize what a beautiful world we live in.” Over 7,000 people live on Ambrym. Chief Moses of Endu, a local village, welcomed Google in to share the incredible beauty of the area. Locals have been rebuilding after Cyclone Pam hit a few years past, and are ready to greet travelers again. According to Google, Chief Moses feels welcoming visitors to the region will help the island recover, help set up a sustainable economy, and preserve the island’s culture . Along with the volcano, Google Street View offers images of his village, a primary school, and a craft workshop on the island. Can’t hop on the next plane to trek to Vanuatu? You can also check out a jungle on Ambrym, more images of the Marum crater, and villagers harvesting coconuts on Google Street View. Via Google Images via screenshot ( 1 , 2 )

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Google Street View takes you inside the fiery depths of an active volcano

San Diego brewery unveils beer made from 100% recycled wastewater

March 20, 2017 by  
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San Diego is aiming to to become the most environmentally sustainable city in the United States. As part of its ambitious Climate Action Plan , last year the city council unanimously approved a $3 billion initiative to recycle wastewater for drinking. Now the city is demonstrating that the pure water program can be used for just about anything, even a cold beer, by partnering with Encinitas-based craft beer maker Stone Brewery to unveil Stone Full Circle Pale Ale — a beer made with 100 percent recycled wastewater from the city’s pure water program. “Just a great example of what this is gonna be like in terms of the future and Stone who’s a huge driver of not just the craft beer industry but sustainability, that’s what our pure water program is all about,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at Stone’s Point Loma location last week, where city leaders gathered to sample the beer and talk up the pure water program. Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy The wastewater recycling plan puts purified water treated at the Point Loma Water Treatment Plant back into the freshwater system rather than the ocean — providing a steady source of potable water to protect the water supply from drought and disruptions to water imports. The pure water program is expected to deliver 30 million gallons of recycled water a day within five years and 83 million gallons of drinking water per day when fully implemented in 2035 — providing one-third of the city’s freshwater supply. Stone, the largest brewery in San Diego and ninth largest in the country, produced five barrels of the beer using water trucked in from the city’s pure water demonstration plant in Miramar. “We like trial and we like testing and if we can help others jump on the same bandwagon, we would love to do that because it’s a great thing for the City of San Diego,” said Stone Chief Operating Officer Pat Tiernan. + Stone Brewery + San Diego Water Sustainability Program Via UPI Images via Wikimedia  and Twitter

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San Diego brewery unveils beer made from 100% recycled wastewater

Nissan has created the worlds first solid-oxide fuel cell vehicle

August 5, 2016 by  
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Nissan Motor Co . revealed a revolutionary new prototype vehicle this week — the world’s first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle. The car runs on bio-ethanol electric power and can rely on multiple fuels in order to produce high-efficiency electricity, including ethanol and natural gas. Ideally, however, the car would run on renewable fuels sourced from corn or sugar cane. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF-eE8pRzMw In a press release , Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer, explained, “The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production, all while supporting the existing infrastructure. In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. Without the need to create new infrastructure, it has great potential to drive market growth.” This new fuel cell is only the latest effort from Nissan to develop completely emission-free vehicles and innovative new automotive technologies. The company already sells the completely electric LEAF , which retails at a far lower cost than competitor Tesla Motors. Because traditional electric cars still rely on power from the grid, which often comes from coal-fired power plants, they’re often not as green as environmentally minded consumers might like. The new e-Bio Fuel Cell promises a better, more sustainable option for those interested in a potential green upgrade. Related: Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes The prototype vehicle runs on 100 percent ethanol, which charges a 24kWh battery, allowing the car to travel up to 600 kilometers (372 miles). However, before it will be made available on the market the company plans to do further road testing in Brazil. + Nissan Motor Co.

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Nissan has created the worlds first solid-oxide fuel cell vehicle

Toyota’s zero-emissions fuel cell bus to hit the streets of Tokyo this month

July 24, 2015 by  
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Toyota  manufactured a zero-emission fuel-cell  bus and is planning to take it for a week-long test drive on the streets of Tokyo, Japan. This public transportation vehicle is actually a blend of other existing technologies. The bones are based on a conventional Hino bus, which has a standard hybrid system, and then the people mover was retrofitted with a hydrogen fuel-cell setup similar to the one found in the Toyota Mirai . In order to begin evaluating the real world applications of this greener option, the bus will transport commuters on established routes around central Tokyo and the waterfront area for several days later this month. Read the rest of Toyota’s zero-emissions fuel cell bus to hit the streets of Tokyo this month

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Toyota’s zero-emissions fuel cell bus to hit the streets of Tokyo this month

Honda FCV fuel-cell concept makes its U.S. debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

January 13, 2015 by  
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Fuel-cell vehicles have been dominating the news the past few months and today at the Detroit Auto Show, Honda revealed its latest fuel-cell concept to the U.S. for the first time ever. The Honda FCV concept is the second fuel cell concept from Honda, which was originally revealed last November in Japan. The FCV concept is a preview of Honda’s fuel cell vehicle that will be introduced a year from now in March 2016. Read the rest of Honda FCV fuel-cell concept makes its U.S. debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2015 Detroit Auto Show , fuel cell car , fuel cell concept , green car , green transportation , Honda , Honda FCV Concept , Honda fuel cell concept , hydrogen

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Honda FCV fuel-cell concept makes its U.S. debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Korean researchers develop most efficient solar cell to date

January 13, 2015 by  
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A Korean research team has achieved record level efficiency in solar cells, using a new formula for mixing perovskite structures. Perovskite is an inexpensive, abundant mineral, and the researchers have found ways to make it even more efficient for solar power applications. The new solar cells are measured at 17.9 percent efficiency, which could mean very big things for this clean alternative energy source. Read the rest of Korean researchers develop most efficient solar cell to date Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , advancements , alternative energy , Alternative Fuel , best , cheap energy , cheap solar , clean , cleanest , efficiency , korea , Korean , minerals , perovskite , power , records , renewable energy , research , science , scientific , solar , Solar cells , Solar Power , solar technology

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Korean researchers develop most efficient solar cell to date

Volkswagen SportWagen HyMotion Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Concept Debuts at the LA Auto Show

November 19, 2014 by  
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This week all of the green car news is focused around the growing number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that will soon hit the market. Following the announcements from Toyota and Honda earlier this week, Volkswagen has revealed its new Golf SportWagen HyMotion fuel cell concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Unlike Toyota and Honda, which have unveiled completely different models for its fuel cell technology, VW is showing how its technology can be adapted to existing production models. Read the rest of Volkswagen SportWagen HyMotion Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Concept Debuts at the LA Auto Show Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric , electric car , fuel cell vehicle , green car , green transportation , hydrogen , hydrogen car , LA Auto Show , Los Angeles Auto Show , volkswagen , Volkswagen E-Golf , volkswagen fuel cell , volkswagen HyMotion , Volkswagen Sportswagen. Volkswagen Hydrogen car

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Volkswagen SportWagen HyMotion Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Concept Debuts at the LA Auto Show

Toyota Unveils Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car With 300-Mile Range; Can it Kick-Start a Hydrogen Society?

November 18, 2014 by  
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A few months ago we gave you a hands-on first look at Toyota’s upcoming fuel cell vehicle – and today the automaker pulled out all the stops and unveiled the car’s official name, performance specs, interior, and pricing for the first time. The Toyota Mirai can travel 300 miles on a single tank of compressed hydrogen, it has 153 horsepower with 247 lb-ft of torque, and it can go from 0-60 mph in 9 seconds. The hydrogen car will be available in California in fall 2015 for under $45,000 after incentives, and it’s coming to the East Cost shortly thereafter. But the automaker is promising much more than a sleekly styled zero emission vehicle ; Mirai translates to “the future” in Japanese, and Toyota’s goal is to pave the way to a hydrogen-based society. Read on for everything you need to know about the company’s first production fuel cell vehicle. Read the rest of Toyota Unveils Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car With 300-Mile Range; Can it Kick-Start a Hydrogen Society? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2015 Toyota Mirai , eco vehicle , fuel cell vehicle , green car , green transportation , hydrogen car , hydrogen fuel cell , hydrogen vehicle , Mirai , sustainable transportation , Toyota , Toyota fuel cell vehicle , toyota hydrogen fuel cell vehicle , Toyota Mirai

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Toyota Unveils Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car With 300-Mile Range; Can it Kick-Start a Hydrogen Society?

This Blazing Fast Electric Car is Powered by Saltwater!

September 17, 2014 by  
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Nanoflowcell has developed the world’s first saltwater-powered electric car – the Quant e-Sportlimousine – it just received approval for testing in Europe! The futuristic gull-winged vehicle runs on a special type of gasoline that is made from salt water , and it’s now street-legal on public roads in Germany. According to Nanoflowcell , the Quant e-Sportlimousine can accelerate from 0-62 mph in a blazing 2.8 seconds and it has a driving range of up to 373 miles. Read the rest of This Blazing Fast Electric Car is Powered by Saltwater! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric car , electric motor , fuel cell , Geneva Motor Show , green car , green transporation , nanoflowcell , nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine , Quant e-Sportlimousine , salt water , salt water-powered car

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This Blazing Fast Electric Car is Powered by Saltwater!

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