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Road Test: Smart Cars, Green Tech

Road Test: Smart Cars, Green TechSelf-driving cars.  Hydrogen fuel cells.  Electric commercial vehicles.  These pieces of news were recently announced by three international auto makers.


According to CEO Elon Musk, Tesla is working on technology that would allow vehicles to have “full auto pilot” driverless capabilities within five to six years.  This goes one step beyond current car capabilities such as self-parking, and speeds up the timeline for delivery.  The previous target date, as reported by research firm IHS, was 2025 for completely autonomous autos.


The company’s 2015 Toyota FCV, a sedan powered by hydrogen technology, is expected to be available in mid-2015.  The FCV will have a range of about 300 miles with a fill-up cost of about $50. It joins such other hydrogen-powered vehicles as the Honda FCX Clarity and the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, which are already on the road. Toyota is also planning larger fuel-cell vehicles such as commercial trucks and buses.


The company is rolling out a 100 percent electric vehicle, the Nissan e-NV200.  Road tests for the commercial vehicle, which is based on the company’s NV200 van and LEAF powertrain, will start in Hong Kong.  Nissan plans on a variety of road conditions and uses, including the cruise terminal at the port of Hong Kong and the city’s children’s hospital.  The e-NV200 has already launched this year in Europe and Japan.



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