Fuel Cell Cars: Caution Needed Say IDTechEx Analysts

Launches of fuel cell cars are reportedly planned by up to six carmakers from 2015 including Tata Motors of India, owners of Jaguar Land Rover. They are portrayed as pivotal in creating success for pure electric cars but the truth is very different. More is explained in the IDTechEx report Future Technology for Hybrid and Pure Electric Cars 2015-2025.

Toyota has been the first to declare its hand with full details of its contribution the Mirai. People listen to Toyota because it is way ahead as leader in EVs overall with sales about four times those of number two according to analysts IDTechEx. It was right to say that affordable pure-electric cars using batteries were not ready for prime time and right to persevere with hybrids. It knows about pure electric vehicles: it is global leader in pure electric forklifts.

However, Toyota is wrongly reported as “betting the shop” on fuel cell cars. Indeed, a managing director of Toyota Satoshi Ogiso has joked that their Chairman Mr Takeshi Uchiyamada, who was behind the hugely successful Prius hybrid during its ten wilderness years and is behind their fuel cells, is now a Don Quixote figure.

Fuel cell rollout projects across the world are actually extremely cautious and modest. For example, the European HyFive program involves Toyota, BMW, Daimler, Honda and Hyundai. It only aims to get 110 fuel cell vehicles on the road by contributing $45 million.

Progress is still slow, following the invention of the fuel cell in 1839 and Honda having arguably the first production fuel cell car the FCX Clarity and the Toyota FCEV Highlander appearing in 2008, only tiny numbers being deployed. Indeed, IDTechEx puts fuel cell cars at only 1% of all hybrid and pure electric cars sold worldwide in 2024.

Franco Gonzalez, EV analyst at IDTechEx explains, “Fuel cells will not be competitive with conventional engines in up-front cost for at least 15 years. Indeed, they need very expensive new hydrogen fuelling infrastructure in addition.”

He continues, “The Germans may achieve that and the Californians are sprinkling 100 across the state by 2017 but that still means frequent diversions into further grid-locked roads to find the stuff. Fuel cells could eventually make sense for fleets such as forklifts and buses because providing their hydrogen refue?ling is trivial, given their fixed routes. Indeed, fuel cells are in about 8000 forklifts in the USA where hydrogen is cheaper. Reduced cost of ownership and no local pollution could become market drivers in closed systems”.

“While it is commendable that fuel cell car production costs have tumbled to the order of $100,000 each, that is still a long way from being competitive. Therefore we are not surprised that the Toyota Mirai fuel cell car, costing a premium $57,000 in the USA and £63,104 in the UK before grants, is constrained to test levels of only 700 worldwide in 2015 despite initial orders for 1500. Only about 2,000 units will be very expensively made in 2016 and approximately 3,000 units in 2017 – then only tens of thousands in the 2020s, says Toyota”.

“So far, compared to a regular car, the fuel cell car offers bottom end range of only 300 miles, unimpressive acceleration and fuel cost, probably a poor resale price and diversion to refuel with the hydrogen from non-sustainable sources (just as electricity and gasoline to charge cars usually comes from non-sustainable sources). The Toyota Mirai is very much a work in progress with its poor headroom in the back due to passengers sitting on the large hydrogen tanks. Many find it ugly due to the huge air scoops at the front for the extra radiators cooling the fuel cell”.

“Meanwhile, the year is approaching when affordable battery cars arrive with the same lack of pollution at point of use, the same 300 miles range but acceptable resale price due to being simpler and lasting longer. In 2020, or not long after, that could provide lift-off in sales way beyond fuel cell cars. Indeed, fuel cell cars perpetuate the bad practice of putting platinum in a consumer product and they still need a supercapacitor or battery to do the heavy lifting. For example, the Toyota Mirai launched in 2015 has a 1.5kWh NiMH battery”.

“So far, fuel cells are usually only range extenders for hybrids though one day they may manage all load variations. Even then they will need separate devices to accept the energy harvesting from braking, shock absorbers and photovoltaics.”

IDTechEx would not be surprised to find Toyota launching hybrid cars with next-generation fuel extenders that are cheaper to buy and to own than fuel cells and easier to refuel. The question may then become whether to keep the exceptionally high subsidies for fuel cell cars when zero pollution at point of use becomes viable with arguably greener pure-electric battery or supercabattery cars that need less investment. Indeed, electricity to charge the competing pure electric cars is increasingly green with greener grid power and increased use of local solar, including over the car itself, whereas affordable and easily accessed green hydrogen remains elusive.

As outlined in the IDTechEx report, Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles Land, Water & Air 2015-2025, some of the other choices of range extender for hybrids beyond fuel cells are starting to be adopted by Toyota’s competitors in 2015 such as the quiet rotary combustion engine in the Proton hybrid car and some of these will be prevalent in 2020 as advanced forms like the Libralato appear.

The range extender choices may even include multi-fuel micro turbines (jet engines) and free-piston fuel generators (no rotation to a separate generator is needed). Some could be used in much greater numbers than fuel cells in cars in future unless fuel cells for open systems like cars see a breakthrough in total cost of ownership, convenience, maintenance and life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Top 10 Largest Automobile Manufacturing Companies in the World

The automobile (automotive companies) sector has mushroomed over the years into a mature and well established industry. Innovation and manufacturing of vehicles has helped the industry to grow into a profitable one. Automobile companies have contributed significantly to the development of the world’s economy by creating jobs paying lots of taxes and earning loads of foreign exchange. There are several automobile manufacturing companies in the world that produces vehicles in a large quantity.

Here we have listed the top 10 largest automobile manufacturing companies in the world.

1) Tata Motors:
Tata Motors is the Asia’s largest and 17th largest automobile manufacturing company in the world. This company is known for its production of cars, trucks, vans, coaches and so on. Tata Motors record the highest sales and is widely popular across the country in 2017.

This company is passionate about anticipating and providing the best commercial and passenger vehicles globally as well as the best customer experiences.

Key facts:
TATA MOTORS Established 1945
Employee Strength 60,000
Company Turnover $42 Billion
Vehicles Sold >9 Million
Sales & Service Points >6, 600

Tata Motors can be found on and off-road in over 175 countries around the globe. Cars, buses and trucks of Tata Motors roll out at 20 locations across the world, seven in India and the rest in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa and Indonesia.

2) Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd:
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd is a US $19 billion global federation of companies. This company is the world’s largest tractor manufacturing company and also India’s second largest vehicle manufacturing company. Mahindra & Mahindra is India’s top SUV manufacturing company that produce two wheelers, bus, pickup, tempo, trucks, and commercial vehicles.

This company commits to invest in technology and grow global presence. Mahindra & Mahindra aims to multiply output both in quantity and quality with a major focus on manufacturing excellence. This company has created several industry-leading and category-defining brands.

3) Maruti Suzuki:
Maruti Suzuki had brought a big revolution in the automobile industry. This is one of the old companies that expertise in the field of production of cars. This company has manufactured cars such as Alto, Omni, Estilo and so on. The total annual production capacity of this company is about 14, 50,000 units.

Maruti Suzuki works with a mission to provide a car for every individual, family, need, budget and Way of Life. For this, it offers 15 brands and over 150 variants ranging from Alto 800 to the Life Utility Vehicle Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.

4) Hero MotoCorp Ltd:
Hero MotoCorp Ltd is one of the best companies in India. Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (Formerly Hero Honda Motors Ltd.) is the world’s largest manufacturer of two – wheelers, based in India.

This company achieved the coveted position of being the largest two-wheeler manufacturing company in India in 2001 and the ‘World No.1′ two-wheeler company in terms of unit volume sales in a calendar year. Hero MotoCorp two wheelers are manufactured across 4 globally benchmarked manufacturing facilities.

5) Bajaj Auto Limited:
Bajaj Auto Limited is one of the leading business houses and the company’s flagship company, Bajaj Auto, is ranked as the world’s fourth largest three and two wheeler manufacturer.

The Bajaj brand is well-known across several countries in Latin America, Africa, Middle East, South and South East Asia. Their flagship company produces Chetak scooters which were the top seller in the Indian market. The company even made the bikes like pulsar and now they are still working on it.

6) Toyota Motor Corporation:
Toyota Motor Corporation is one of the top most automobile manufacturing companies in the world. This company designs, manufacturers and markets various automobile product ranges from SUVs, minivans, luxury & sport utility vehicles, trucks and buses among others.

Toyota Motor Corporation has other vehicle manufacturing subsidiaries which include Daihatsu Motor for the production of mini-vehicles and Hino Motors for the production of buses and trucks. Toyota car engines are fixed with either combustion or lately the hybrid engines such as the one in the Prius.

7) Chevrolet:
Chevrolet is an American division of the General Motors. The company has an array of trucks, automobiles and commercial vehicles as the products it offers with its services including oil changing, vehicle insurance, vehicle financing, vehicle sales and vehicle repairs. Chevrolet has the reputation of being a car of all the purses and all the purposes. Its wide range of vehicles includes subcompact automobiles and medium duty commercial trucks among others.

8) MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORPORATION:
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation develops design, and manufacture, sale and purchase automobiles and component parts, replacement parts. This company manufactures component parts, replacement parts and accessories of said used automobiles.

Mitsubishi helps to bring higher productivity and quality to the factory floor. In addition, extensive service networks around the globe provide direct communication and comprehensive support to customers.

9) Honda Motor Co Ltd. Company:
Honda Motor Co Ltd. Company is a world leading automaker and the largest motorcycle producer in the world. Its motorcycle lines feature everything from super bikes to scooters, with the company also being dedicated to the production of personal watercrafts and ATVs.

The models of this company include seven luxury vehicle models as well as SUVs and others. Within its lines are also Honda Power products and machinery such as snow blowers, tillers, lawn mowers, outboard motors and portable generators. Engine quality, durability and economic fuel consumption are the main reasons why customers prefer Honda machines.

10) Ford Motor Company:
Ford Motor Company is one of the leading automobile manufacturers in the world that ranks high among the top automobile companies. Some of its most staple brands include Lincoln, Taurus, Focus, Mustang, and Fiesta etc.

The company’s automobiles are characterized with luxury under the Lincoln Marque brand, with other brands being good for sports and off-road performances. In the past, Ford manufactured some of the best, trucks, buses and tractors.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Keeping Yourself Safe When Selling Your Car

When it comes time to sell a car, most owners are preoccupied with getting the most money possible. You’ve invested a great deal in your car, and it’s understandable that you want to get the money you deserve. Unfortunately, cost isn’t the only concern you should have when selling your car. As scammers become more advanced, it’s easy to find yourself in a scary situation if you’re not careful. Keeping yourself safe when selling your car is simple with these essential tips, so do your due diligence and sell your car to the right buyer for the right price.

Always Meet in a Public Place
Once you’ve connected with a buyer and you’ve decided to meet up, make sure you always do so in a well-lit, well-populated place. Grocery store parking lots in the middle of the day work wonderfully, and will decrease the risk of a violent car theft; more witnesses should scare off most scammers looking to take your vehicle by force. Never have a buyer come to your home; you don’t want to give a would-be criminal the chance to case your home and return later on.

Don’t Accept Checks
Car scammers often hand over a bad check to gain a free car. Tell buyers that you’ll accept cash only. If that limits your pool of buyers, there are a few ways to ensure you get what you’re owed. Call a trusted bank to verify the funds before handing over the keys or telling a buyer that you’ll deposit the check and then give them the keys when the funds have cleared. A common sign of a fraudulent check? Offering to pay more than you’re asking for the car. If you have to ask yourself : “Who would buy my car for more than its true value?” chances are they’re attempting to rip you off.

Be Wary About Test Drives
It’s understandable and expected that a potential buyer will ask for a test drive before purchasing your vehicle. However, this gives the nefarious scammer the perfect opportunity to steal your car. Always have a friend with you, and be sure to go along for the test drive. Also be sure to request their driver’s license and have a scanned copy on hand. With their license you can scan their public record for a criminal history check, which will tell you whether or not a test drive is a good idea.

Know Your Car’s Worth
Private buyers will often attempt to haggle with you about the price of your vehicle, telling boldfaced lies that your car’s book value is much lower than you think it is. They may bring a mechanic with them to check out the car; this mechanic may then turn around and tell you the car has numerous issues and isn’t worth as much as you expected. Avoid this by using a car valuator tool like Kelley Blue Book and have it checked out by your own trusted mechanic. Walk into the negotiation knowing the worth of what you’re offering and don’t buckle against their claims to the contrary.

Use a Car Buying Service
Reading this and thinking to yourself “How do I find someone to buy my car without putting myself in danger?” You may decide to avoid the middleman and simply sell your car to a certified online buyer. Online agencies will give you an instant quote and come to pick up your car when you’ve accepted. While you likely won’t get as much money as you would through a private sale, you’ll save yourself the headache and vulnerability that doing it on your own can mean. Plus, you can sell it within a day, while private sales could see you spending months screening potential buyers that don’t follow through.

Get the most out of selling your car without putting yourself in danger. Keep these tips in mind and keep yourself safe to make the most out of the experience.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off