Saturday, February 17, 2018

US Air Force demonstrating hydrogen as alternate fuel source

The US Air Force is demonstrating the use of hydrogen as an alternate fuel source at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
In a recent visit to JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, members of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Energy and Operations directorates were given a tour of the installation’s hydrogen production facility and shown several of the vehicles that use this alternative fuel. This project, with assets housed at the 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron and with the Hawaii Air National Guard, is part of a cooperative agreement between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies (HCATT).
This 25-passenger crew bus is one of the vehicles powered by a hydrogen fuel cell used at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in a demonstration of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source. (US Air Force photo by J. Brian Garmon) Click to enlarge.
This state organization supports the Hawaii ANG, the National Guard Bureau, and the US Air Force. It is tasked to demonstrate hydrogen technology and its potential applications within the Defense Department.
In areas such as Hawaii, where renewable energy resources account for a large portion of the grid’s total electrical capacity, intermittent renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, become less desirable. Continual sources of renewable energy, such as hydrogen, become an important focus in the shift towards cleaner, cost-effective energy. This is due to the need for a consistent supply of power to meet electrical load demands.
This hydrogen project has been in place for more than a decade, originally installed in 2006 as a mobile hydrogen production, compression, storage, and dispensing unit, and was upgraded in 2010. Both systems were set up to support all DoD hydrogen vehicle testing, to include both hydrogen internal combustion and fuel cell vehicles.
Some of the hydrogen vehicles currently supported by this station include a 25 passenger crew bus, a MJ-1E fighter weapons loader and a U-30 heavy aircraft tug.
HCATT’s partnership with AFRL, AFCEC, NGB, HIANG, and the invaluable support from Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, are key to the program’s success in demonstrating the versatility of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles within DoD. These proofs of concept not only provide alternate vehicle choices for the Air Force’s flight line of the future, but also will help the state of Hawaii in its effort to increase hydrogen usage across the islands.
—Stan Osserman, HCATT director
This project not only supports the Air Force’s goal of increasing its renewable energy usage, but also aligns with the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, launched originally in 2008. HCEI seeks to achieve the nation’s first 100% renewable portfolio standards by 2045 and to reduce petroleum use in Hawaii’s transportation sector.
Hydrogen fuel cell use is growing exponentially worldwide in the private sector. The DoD could benefit, on many different levels, by embracing the adaptability and scalability of hydrogen and fuel cell systems.
—Stan Osserman

Chevy Volt and Bolt Start the Year With So-So Sales

Chevrolet’s two plug-in cars with the similar names – the Volt and Bolt – got off to tepid sales starts this year, with the Bolt doing comparatively better.
General Motors reported 1,177 Bolt EVs sold in January, a mild 1.3-percent increase over last year’s 1,162, whereas the Volt EREV saw 713 deliveries, a 55.7-percent decline over January 2017’s 1,611.
The Bolt’s number, while up, also comes against the fact that it is now nationally available, and a year ago at this time it was not, but still early in its schedule of rolling out to the nation. Sales of the 238-mile range electric car had started in Oregon and California in December 2016, and so, its availability was less. A 1.3-percent year-over-year increase therefore is not a super-sized uptick.
By contrast, the Volt, which was nationally available a year ago is purely down. It also finished 2017 a bit behind the Bolt with 20,349 sales to the Bolt’s 23,297. The Bolt was the second-best selling plug-in car in the U.S. behind an estimated 26,500 deliveries of the Tesla Model S. The Volt placed fifth behind the Tesla Model S, Bolt, Tesla Model X, and Prius Prime.
What lies ahead this year for the two cars saleswise is an open question.
Their slow starts in a historically slow sales month are not necessarily any real indicator, but a lower-priced all-new Nissan Leaf, potentially Tesla’s Model 3 which is still supposed to increase production to fill a big backlog, and other cars will also vie for mindshare.
Green car analyst Alan Baum is not projecting more than 25,000 for either one, but as is always true, no one actually knows the future.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid - VIDEO

As they say: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
The first Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, launched for 2011, wasn't one of the better examples of the class for drivability.
But Hyundai has updated its mid-size hybrid three times since then, with each generation getting markedly better.

The company also launched an updated Sonata Plug-In Hybrid as well, though there's not one here on the floor in Chicago.
The single-motor hybrid powertrain hasn't changed much, with a combined output of 193 horsepower for the hybrid and 202 hp for the plug-in.
Hyundai says projected EPA fuel-economy ratings for the Hybrid are 42 mpg combined, a 5-percent boost over last year's 40 mpg combined.
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The company didn't give estimated ratings for the Sonata plug-in hybrid.
The major change, though, is the front and rear styling, along with upgraded of infotainment and active-safety features and options.
A new and bolder hexagonal grille, more prominent air dam, and a restyled rear end means it's easy to distinguish the 2018 Sonata Hybrid from last year's model.

Inside, Hyundai's restyled the center controls below the touchscreen, added real-time traffic data, and made blindspot monitors standard—rear cross-traffic and lane-change alerts included.
Automatic emergency braking and active lane control are optional.
We haven't driven the 2018 Sonata Hybrid yet, but it's likely to be similar to its predecessor—though quieter and a bit more fuel-efficient.
Under light loads, the car will occasionally drop into electric-only mode even at highway speeds.
It's not as smooth as two-motor hybrid systems from Toyota, Honda, and Ford.

But we'd expect it to be priced at or below hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and Kia Optima.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will go on sale within several weeks, though we'd expect the Plug-In Hybrid version to lag somewhat.Toyota, Honda, and Ford