College campuses are a natural home for the development of autonomous vehicles. Companies interested in the technology have found that places of higher education and research welcome the testing of programs like driverless shuttles that help students and faculty get around. Varden Labs co-founder Alex Rodrigues sees campuses as “controlled environments” where there is less traffic, but slower speeds are necessary to ensure the safety of pedestrians. Universities are also less risk-averse than local governments when it comes to spending money to test new technology. Plus, universities have the human resources to fix problems and keep autonomous vehicles running. Read more from CityLab.
The US has exported less oil than before it lifted the ban on crude oil exports. During the first months of 2014, the US exported about 342,000 barrels per day. Now, we export some 325,000 barrels daily. At the same time, storage is at a decade high, with 487 million barrels as of early November. Read more from Green Car Congress.
Tesla is shipping its Norway deliveries via a natural gas-powered ferry. Through an agreement with shipping company Nor Lines, Tesla is reducing the carbon footprint of moving its product from Germany. “I don’t think we would have crossed the finish line as easily if the ships were run on heavy oil,” says Nor Lines representative Anders Sandvik, referring to ongoing negotiations leading up to the Tesla deal. “They really take the environment seriously and actively seek to minimize their carbon footprint,” Sandvik adds. “I miss such vigor in other industries today.” Read more from Teslarati, or, if you read Norwegian, from Sysla Grønn.
Toyota is launching the hydrogen-powered Mirai in Sweden and Norway this summer. The Nordic countries have growing hydrogen fueling infrastructure, which is essential to the success of fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai. Toyota plans a slow initial rollout, with an expected 3,000 units to be sold globally in 2017, growing to 30,000 in 2020. Toyota already knows the Mirai can handle the cold, as it proved during a 62,000-mile test in Germany. Read more at Green Car Congress, or in the press release below.
• Growing investments in hydrogen infrastructure and increased environmental awareness pave the way for the eco-friendly zero emissions car
• Sweden and Norway are launching the Toyota fuel cell Mirai in summer 2016, after initial European entry in UK, Germany, Denmark (2015) and Belgium (early 2016) – the Netherlands to follow later in 2016
Brussels, Belgium – The future is around the corner for citizens of Sweden and Norway who show interest in Toyota’s zero emissions fuel cell car, the Toyota Mirai (‘Future’ in Japanese). Starting this summer, both Nordic countries will start deliveries following other European countries that have introduced the Toyota Mirai in 2015 (UK, Germany and Denmark) or early 2016 (Belgium) – with the Netherlands to follow later this year. The Mirai has been launched in Japan in December 2014 and is sold outside of Europe in the US since 2015.
More refuelling stations
In Norway the launch comes at a time when on top of the 5 existing hydrogen stations in the east of the country, two local hydrogen providers (HyOP and Uno-x) have committed to add more than 20 hydrogen stations across the country by 2020. The hydrogen stations are also expected to be a priority in the 2018-2029 National Transport Plan that comes with additional funding. Toyota customers can enjoy the same benefits of electric vehicles, i.e. VAT and tax exemptions on purchase, access to bus lanes and free toll.
Toyota Norway PR Manager Espen Olsen: “This is an important milestone for Toyota Norway. We believe this is the start of something big, and we believe that this technology will play a key role in cutting emissions from Norwegian road transport, thus helping the country to achieve its climate targets”. Ahead of the launch the Toyota Mirai has been extensively tested on Norwegian roads and the car has passed all tests with flying colours. The Toyota Mirai has proven to successfully cope with the typical winter cold in Norway. “The cabin warms up very fast thanks to the heat produced as a by-product by the fuel cells, with no impact on the range of the car”, adds Mr Olsen.
100% Green hydrogen
Similar to neighbouring Norway, Sweden already has a number of hydrogen stations in cities such as Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, with more in the pipeline to open later this year (Mariestad and an additional station in the capital Stockholm). In Sweden hydrogen can easily be sourced as it is locally produced 100% based on renewable energy, just like in Denmark. Toyota Sweden PR Manager Bengt Dalström: “We see the introduction of the Toyota Mirai as a way to accelerate the development of hydrogen infrastructure in Sweden.”
Mirai playing key role
The number of Toyota Mirai cars sold in both countries will initially be relatively small to eventually increase significantly in the years leading up to 2020. Toyota estimates selling around 30,000 units a year globally in 2020 from 3,000 units by 2017. Since the car does not emit anything else but water vapour whilst driving, the Toyota Mirai is expected to contribute to reach the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 which, amongst others, aims at reducing CO2 emissions by 90% in 2050 compared to 2010 levels.
Mirai is the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell sedan, benefiting from Toyota research and development of the fuel cell technology spanning for over two decades, and world-leading experience in hybrid vehicle power systems. Using hydrogen to generate electricity within a fuel cell stack, Mirai produces no tailpipe emissions other than water. In addition, a full-tank driving range of around 500 kilometres bears comparison with a petrol-powered car and the refuelling process only takes about three minutes to complete.