TAKANEZAWA, Japan – Honda’s new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell car rolled off a Japanese production line Monday and is headed to Southern California, where Hollywood is already abuzz over the latest splash in green motoring.
The FCX Clarity, which runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the noxious fumes believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company says.
Japan’s third biggest automaker expects to lease out a “few dozen” units this year and about 200 units within three years. In California, a three-year lease will run $600 a month, which includes maintenance and collision coverage.
Among the first customers are actress Jamie Lee Curtis and filmmaker husband Christopher Guest, actress Laura Harris, film producer Ron Yerxa, as well as businessmen Jon Spallino and Jim Salomon.
“It’s so smooth,” said Harris, who played villainness Marie Warner on the hit TV show “24” and was flown over by Honda for the ceremony. “It’s like a future machine, but it’s not.”
Could a 300mph train from Disneyland to Las Vegas be on the way? A transportation bill just signed into law chips in $45 million to study the idea, which has a maglev (magnetic levitation) train similar to the Shanghai SMT in the picture above making the 260-mile run from fantasyland to sleazetown in just under two hours. If you’ve ever driven this 4-hour+ route across the desert, you know how long and monotonous that trek can seem, so this double-quick passage would be warmly welcomed.
Let’s not bet on this just yet, though. That $45 million grant is a drop in the bucket compared to the enormous cost of these high-speed maglev trains. In fact, that amount of funding would be enough for about 1.5 miles of track. Nevertheless, the $45 million is a good start for environmental studies, and it’s great news that trains such as this and the 220mph California Bullet Train are even being discussed in the train-dumb United States.
BMW presents GINA, a new take on car design, materials, and flexibility. The GINA replaces the traditional metal/plastic skin with a textile fabric skin that’s pulled taut around a frame of metal and carbon fiber wires. Even the shape of the car can change. Fascinating and creative design study.
We’re ready for the 3G iPhone, but are AT&T’s 3G networks ready for it? Om Malik raises the scary possibility that AT&T’s complete HSDPA network might be newly strengthened, but still might not be robust enough to handle the onslaught of 3G traffic, rendering 3G barely more nimble than EDGE.