Japan hopes to expand the use of hydrogen energy by subsidizing fuel cell vehicles, according to The Japan News. The trade ministry plans to include the subsidies in its 2015 budget to coincide with the expected launch of Toyota's Fuel Cell Vehicle and the Honda FCEV hydrogen car. By jump-starting purchases of hydrogen cars, Japan hopes that innovation and mass-production will get a boost and the cost of fuel cell vehicles will be competitive with gasoline-powered models by the year 2025. Japan plans to have 100 hydrogen fueling locations operating by March 2016, and wants to halve the cost of building those stations by 2020. The amount of the subsidies has not yet been set.
Investing website The Motley Fool isn't quite as optimistic as Japan about hydrogen cars, and is instead bullish about Tesla Motors. The Fool points to Tesla's strong stock performance, and predicts future growth will come from more car models in the future - starting with the Model X - as well as the company's proposed Gigafactory for manufacturing batteries. If Tesla's charging technology continues to catch on, that only improves its financial prospects. The article has some harsh words, however, for hydrogen: "Fuel cells are an inferior automotive technology and for fundamental efficiency, cost, and infrastructure reasons always will be mere compliance gimmicks." Yeesh.
As part of a program to build charging stations for the Indianapolis EV carsharing service BlueIndy, utility company Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) wants to raise its electricity rates an average of 44 cents a month per residential customer to help pay for its share of the project. State consumer advocacy agency Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and consumer watchdog group Citizens Action Coalition oppose the plan, according to Greenfield, Indiana's Daily Reporter. The BlueIndy program, which is a partnership between the city of Indianapolis and battery manufacturer Bollore Group, will provide up to 500 cars for rent at 25 charging sites around the city. Those who oppose the rate hike call IPL a monopoly and say the amount of the increase is not allowed under state law and that the program wouldn't benefit working class and low-income citizens. A hearing regarding IPL's proposal is scheduled for July 23.
A Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will run the 2014 Asia Cross Country Rally, Hybrid Cars reports. The rally covers 1,367 miles of woods, swamps and mountains from Thailand to Cambodia. Two & Four Motor Sports rally team will pilot the plug-in SUV, with technical support provided by Mitsubishi engineers. The rally-prepped Mitsu features a raised chassis for more ground clearance, a rally suspension, roll cage, lightweight components, a tuned version of the company's S-AWD system and a really cool snorkel for river crossings. The 19th edition of the rally ceremonies begin in Pattaya, Thailand on August 9. The race starts the next day and terminates in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Friday August 15.