The Toyota FCV will compete in the last stage of the 2014 Japanese Rally Championship. The sport-tuned hydrogen-powered car will tackle the 177-mile Shinshiro Rally on November 1 and 2, emitting no greenhouse gases in the process. The rally course will help prove the safety of the vehicle before it goes on sale in Japan in the next several months. The Toyota FCV, rumored to be called "Mirai" in Japan, will begin sales there before April, according to Toyota, and in the summer in the US and Europe. Read more in the press release below.
Carsharing is becoming more popular, and more visible, throughout the world, including the US. According to WardsAuto columnist John McElroy, 18 percent of US drivers have used some sort of carsharing service. Additionally, he says 60 percent of Americans are familiar with Zipcar and Uber. Mercedes' Harald Kroeger says promotions like free parking for carshares in Stuttgart are encouraging growth for Daimler's carsharing service, Car2go. Read more at WardsAuto.
Ethanol is being help up by rail transport, according to ethanol producer Green Plains. More and more stations are carrying E15 blend gasoline, but grain producers have complained that crude oil is given higher priority by the rail lines shipping it, which rail companies deny. Union Pacific and BNSF Railway say they are stepping up service to make sure that ethanol can be shipped reliably to customers. Read more at Omaha World-Herald.
General Motors "has placed a significant bet [on] the electrification of the automobile," says CEO Mary Barra. In a speech to the Detroit Economic Club this week, she spoke about the Chevrolet Volt, and its importance to GM's future. While Barra admits the Volt's success has been "not everything we wanted," it has provided experience, and shows that EVs have "an important role in the future of GM." The new Volt is more refined, stores more energy, has longer range, uses less fuel and is a big investment for Michigan. She announced that the new Volt's electric drive system will be built in Warren, and that all of its major components will be made in Michigan. "Silicon Valley doesn't have a corner on the market for innovation, creativity and drive," says Barra. "These qualities exist here – in this region – as well." See the speech's highlight video and read more in the transcript below.