Over the Alaska Highway, on hydrogen

To prove that its hydrogen fuel cell drive systems can handle real-world conditions, Toyota took its FCHV, or Fuel Cell Hydrogen Vehicle, down the 2,300 miles of the Alaska Highway. The car they used was on display at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. This car uses the same platform and body as a Toyota Highlander, yet its wheels are turned by electric motors. The electricity is generated from a fuel cell stack that runs off of hydrogen. Toyota has fitted this most recent generation of the FCHV with 10,000 psi hydrogen tanks that give it a range … Read more

Cruising into Los Angeles

We recounted the first part of our trip to the Los Angeles Auto Show previously. Continuing on down the coast towards Santa Barbara, it got darker as the day wore on and, as there was no automatic setting, we had to manually turn on the Highlander Hybrid's headlights. And we were holding around 24mpg, making a gas stop necessary on the way down. It was good mileage for an SUV, but not dramatic. We shifted seats periodically, giving everyone the opportunity to sit in the reclining rear seat.

We had taken Highway 101 down, a more scenic route than … Read more

On the road to the Los Angeles Auto Show

Closing in on Paso Robles, Calif., we are well on our way to the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. Toyota handed us a brand new 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid for the trip, so we expect to get good mileage along the way, although right now it has dipped under 24 mpg, to 23.5. This car's rated mileage is 25 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in the city, and in Los Angeles traffic, we expect it to do very well. We got the car this morning, an hour before we were to leave, and we were disappointed. … Read more

New materials at K 2007 will change your life

The recently concluded K 2007 conference in Düsseldorf, Germany, featured a variety of recent advances in materials science that will change your life. No hyperbole there--just a safe prediction.

I didn't make it to the show, but I've been following the announcements on the Web site of Design News, a trade publication for mechanical engineers. The K Fair is all about plastics...but in truth, the line between plastic and metal is getting pretty blurry these days.

Indeed, companies such as DuPont are now talking about plastics climbing "the metals replacement curve." MetaFuse technology, … Read more

Photos: The wildest concept cars from Tokyo

Although none of these cars are likely to make it to production, they represent some of the most interesting, or, possibly, aberrant, ideas in automotive design. From the Nissan R.D/B.X, designed to let its occupants interact, to the Honda Puyo with its gel-covered body, these concepts are as wild as they come.

Click here for photos of wild concept cars at the 2007 Tokyo auto show.

Photos: Ready for the road concepts from Tokyo

At the 2007 Tokyo auto show, we found many concept cars that could be put into production today. These cars wouldn't look out of place on the road or in a mall parking lot. We've got photos of these ready for the road concepts, from the Volkswagen Space Up to the Toyota iQ.

Click here for photos of road-ready concept cars at the 2007 Tokyo auto show.

Toyota 1/X hints at a new Prius

Toyota's 1/X concept, shown at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, uses a body design that closely resembles that of the current Prius. But the 1/X has a lot of tricks up its sleeve that could give it double the already frugal Prius' mileage. First off, the 1/X's body is made of the same carbon fiber materials Toyota developed for its racing cars. This type of body makes the 1/X a third lighter than the Prius. As a flexible fuel vehicle, the 1/X's plug-in hybrid power train can burn gas and ethanol. With … Read more