by Jon LeSage, editor and publisher, Green Auto Market
Here’s my take on the 10 most significant and interesting occurrences during the past week…….
- Longest range ZEV: The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedan, launching later this year, received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency driving range rating of 366 miles and fuel economy rating of 68 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent combined, according to American Honda. That makes it the longest range zero emission vehicle that will be sold in the U.S. “Not only does the Clarity Fuel Cell fit five passengers and refuel in three to five minutes, it offers customers a driving range on par with gasoline-powered cars,” said Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda Motor Co. “The Clarity leads the pack with a 366 mile driving range rating, and with a growing network of hydrogen stations and fast fueling time, the zero-emissions family road trip is no longer science fiction.”
- Faraday reveal at CES: Faraday Future will unveil its first production vehicle at CES 2017, at the same consumer electronics show where the Chinese startup was originally introduced. The company hasn’t revealed details on the first car and whether it will be the FFZERO1 electric concept car. It’s just shown a teaser image on its Twitter page so far. A spokesman told Fortune that the first product “will be a premium electric vehicle that combines extreme technology, industry leading range, and holistic design.”
- Green truck nominees: Green Car Journal and the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show named 10 finalists for the 2017 Green Truck of the Year and Commercial Green Car of the Year awards, which will be presented in San Antonio on November 10. Finalists for 2017 Green Truck of the Year include the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford F-250 Super Duty, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, and RAM 1500. Vying for 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year are the Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, Nissan Titan XD, and RAM ProMaster City. This year’s finalists do the ‘heavy lifting’ in every day life, while achieving greater levels of environmental performance without sacrificing core capabilities expected from these highly-functional vehicles, said Green Car Journal editor and publisher Ron Cogan. Green Car Journal has yet to announce its 2017 Green Car of the Year award nominees. Earlier this month, journalists from 22 different countries named nominees for a separate award – the 2017 World Car of the Year. One of the categories was nominees for 2017 World Green Car of the Year: Chevrolet Bolt, Chevrolet Malibu, Tesla Model X, Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI, BMW 740 e iPerformance, Mercedes GLC 350 e, Honda FCV Clarity, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Prius Prime, Hyundai Ioniq, and Kia Niro.
- LeEco mishap: LeEco, a backer of Faraday Future, planned to unveil a self-driving electric car in San Francisco last week. LeEco founder, Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, was supposed to ride out on stage driven by the concept car, but instead had to run out on stage by himself. The misfire was caused by a delay getting the LeSee car prototype from London – where it is being used in the film “Transformers 5” – to San Francisco, the company. “It shouldn’t be me running out here, we didn’t have any other choice,” Jia told the audience, speaking through a translator. “What we wanted was me in the car, and the autonomous car drives me out.”
- Honda green car sales forecast: Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that by 2030, he wants more than two-thirds of U.S. Honda and Acura volume to come from green cars such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles, and all-electric vehicles, as reported in Automotive News. That would translate to more than one million electrified vehicles a year sold by American Honda Motor Co., based on its present volume. That would be a steep climb over the next 14 years. American Honda sold only 2,329 hybrid vehicles in the U.S. in the first half of the year, and sales of the Accord plug-in hybrid and Fit EV have been very small this year.
- GM in China: General Motors says that it will be introducing 20 new or redesigned Chevrolet models by 2020 in China, including hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The automaker said five of the 20 vehicles have been introduced this year, including the Malibu XL, the Malibu XL Hybrid, the new Cruze, a Cavalier family sedan, and the sixth-generation Camaro. Most of the vehicles will be made in China by the company’s SAIC-GM joint venture. “Chevrolet will continue to strengthen the best model lineup in the brand’s history in China,” Alan Batey, GM North America president and head of Global Chevrolet, said in a statement. “In the coming years, we will roll out breakthrough products with technologies that improve safety, performance and fuel efficiency for our customers.”
- Butterfly wings: Fisker, Inc. has released a teaser photo of its all-electric vehicle that will be launched next year. In the image, you can view raising wings on a sports car. Henrik Fisker has released a teaser image of his first new car. Fisker has tweeted the image with the caption: “A Breakthrough: Innovative new butterfly doors in our new Fisker model, for easier ingress/egress.” He also promises that more will be shared soon on the new vehicle.
- Fuel-cell buses: Toyota has announced plans to begin selling hydrogen fuel-cell buses starting early next year. The company plants to be selling more than 100 of these buses in and near Tokyo in advance of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The fuel-cell system is based on what’s used in the Mirai modified to work in a municipal bus.
- Atieva launching Tesla competitor: Atieva, a Silicon Valley that began making batteries for Chinese buses before hitting financial troubles, is expected to unveil a Tesla competitor in early December, an electric sedan named Atvus. The company started in 2007 and developed batteries and electric drivetrains, plus battery packs for electric buses in China. Since then, investments by Chinese state-owned carmaker BAIC and LeEco seem to have given the company solid financial backing. Atvus will have the same electric drivetrain as the Mercedes-Benz Vito van named Edna shown in videos earlier this summer. Atvus looks a lot like a Tesla Model S, according to Recode.
- Survey on electric cars: Forty-three percent of Californians say they are considering buying or leasing an electric vehicle before 2025, according to a Vrge Analytics survey of 837 conducted in August. When informed that there are EVs in development that are roughly the same price as traditional vehicles with a range of more than 200 miles per charge, sixty-five percent of respondents say they would consider buying or leasing one. “Californians are ready to trade-in their gas guzzlers for clean cars,” said Mike Montgomery, Executive Director of CALinnovates, an advocacy group focused on improving industries and expanding economic opportunities for Californians through innovative technologies. “This research suggests that the EV industry in the state is at a tipping point. Automakers should seize on this opportunity and go all-in – by putting a fleet of world-class, innovative, affordable EVs on the roads.”