The Hydrogen Toyota

A roundup of motoring news from the web:

– Toyota unveiled the exterior look of its hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle on Wednesday, also releasing pricing for the Japanese market. The car, which is about the size of a Camry, will cost just under $69,000 in Japan. The automaker has not discussed details about a release in North America, but California has plans to fund a hydrogen fueling network, for $47 million. (Bloomberg)

– General Motors announced Tuesday that it was installing three acres of solar arrays at two of its operations in Michigan: the engine plant in Flint and the processing center in Swartz Creek. The automaker estimates that the installations will produce 400,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or enough to power 25 houses for a year. (General Motors)

– Cruise Automation, a start-up in San Francisco, began taking preorders Monday for a $10,000 device that straps to the roof of a conventional car to make it autonomous. The system works only on Audi A4 and S4 models, but the company said it was working on adapting it to other vehicles. (Forbes)

– In its analysis of the Kia Soul E.V., TÜV Nord, a German technical inspection organization, has found that the battery-powered car has a carbon footprint 40 percent smaller over the life of the vehicle than that of its diesel-power, European-market counterpart. Kia began building the Soul E.V. in South Korea this year. (Autoblog)

– Joe Hinrichs, president of the Americas for Ford, said this week that the automaker was on track to begin building it aluminum-body 2015 F-150 pickup. To build the redesigned truck, Ford is retooling two factories, which the automaker said would cut production of its popular and profitable F-Series by about 90,000 units. (Bloomberg)

– In other F-150-related news, Ford introduced the tot-friendly Power Wheels version of its pickup this week in Dearborn, Mich. Mark Bentley, a licensing manager for Ford, said that the automaker pulled in about $2 billion a year from licensed merchandise like F-150 Power Wheels. The toy trucks, in which toddlers can ride, are about 4 feet long and can go up to 5 miles per hour with a 12-volt battery-powered electric motor. (The Detroit Free Press)

– Ben Winter, Chrysler’s former minivan chief engineer, has been named as the automaker’s next head of product planning for North America. Mr. Winter replaced Joe Veltri, who became head of investor relations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in May. (Automotive News, subscription required)

– A filling station that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in 1927 was never built at its intended spot on a street corner in Buffalo, but the design finally came to fruition around the corner, inside the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. Jim Sandoro, the museum’s founder and executive director, bought the plans for $175,000 and had it fabricated — inside a custom-built atrium — to Mr. Wright’s specifications. (Hemmings Daily)



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