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Toyota's second-gen hydrogen car is here, Cyber Monday, and more tech news
Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, 30 November 2020.
1. Mirai 2021: Toyota’s second-gen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
Toyota’s Miria is now a second-gen hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) (Engadget), and reviews are out suggesting the 2021 model is vastly improved.
- The Mirai, meaning future in Japanese, is Toyota’s ninth FCEV, having started on them back in 1992, and only its fourth that has been available to buy.
- The first Mirai you might’ve missed entirely. First out in 2015 it sold around 11,000 models, just over 1,000 in the UK and Europe, and a few thousand in the US.
- The latest Mirai won’t move the needle for Toyota, with the Japanese giant aiming to sell around ten times more from the latest generation vehicle.
- But it’s a big play at working towards something a little bigger.
- With a more elegant, Lexus-inspired design, the Mirai is no longer one of the truly ugly cars.
- I mean, really, have a look — apparently, airflow for the chemical reaction was a big problem, the rear was thicc, the internals were odd, and performance wasn’t great.
- The new Mirai really shows why second-gen products are much better.
- The 2021 model has improved to a 400-mile range, with a bigger hydrogen tank, refueling time of around five minutes, and better acceleration. That’s 400 miles in all weather, unlike EVs.
- The fuel cell that does all the chemical reactions to generate power still needs strong airflow, but it’s now smaller: it drops down to taking up 24 liters of capacity, from 33L of space previously required. Despite the size fall, it’s more efficient: 128kW of power, up from the previous 114kW unit.
- And with that size saving, the carbon-fiber-reinforced fuel tank is now bigger, now carrying 5.6kg of hydrogen, for an overall 30 percent range boost.
- There’s a decent enough explanation of how it works from Toyota here, too.
- It should be cheaper, too, down from the original’s ~$60k to ~$50k.
- The new Mirai still carries a 1.24kWh “buffer battery,” which provides additional horsepower on demand, and is used during regen.
- Expect the water-emissions-only*-car sometime in 2021.
*99 problems and two of them are H:
- Ok a terrible H2 joke but of course you need access to hydrogen to refuel your Mirai, and the chicken/egg problem of hydrogen infrastructure hasn’t been cracked yet, nor the carbon footprint problems.
- According to h2stations.org, there are only 45 H2 refueling stations in the US, nearly all in California. There is one in Hawaii near Honolulu too, which seems useful for that island?
- The H2stations map show a bunch more through the US but they’re mostly research facilities so I don’t know if you can exactly pull up and load up.
- Germany has 87, the UK has 13. Japan has a more healthy 137, aiming for 900 by 2030.
- And while the carbon footprint problem of hydrogen is not yet solved, significant investments in renewable hydrogen and carbon-neutral approaches are happening (The Guardian), especially by China (Clean Energy Wire).
- What may be, by 2030 and beyond is that we see on the roads a mix of EVs, FCEVs, petrol-electric hybrids, and traditional cars, trucks, and vans.
- A mix is at least a chance in a complex future.
2. Ok, Cyber Monday means more shopping if you haven’t already grabbed a deal. Big hub of deals here, best smartphone deals here, Chromebook deals, tablet and iPad deals, Best Buy Cyber Monday deals, Cyber Monday Walmart deals, and UK deals here. Phew! (Android Authority).
3. Korean media is reporting Samsung might launch one last Galaxy Note before putting the series to bed, after initial reports that we might’ve seen the last Note already. A final Note 21 in 2021 may be possible but expect more focus than ever on the Fold (Android Authority).
4. On that Note, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 and Z Flip 5G now come in festive red and white options as limited editions (Android Authority).
5. Xiaomi may launch the Mi 11 series earlier in 2021, too: January could be a busy month? (Android Authority).
6. Black Friday online shopping comes in $9B, with $3.6B spent on smartphones, up 25%, via Adobe. Predictions are for Cyber Monday to beat these numbers, too. In 2019, Adobe tracked $7.4 billion in online sales (TechCrunch).
7. Here’s an interesting Twitter thread delving into the detail or “tricks” of what Apple has done with the M1 processor to make it run Intel code so well. No “magic,” just a series of interesting decisions (Twitter).
8. Tesla owners are going to be able to remotely view what their Autopilot cameras can see (Electrek).
9. Internet, get ready to search: Utah’s Mystery Monolith has disappeared (Gizmodo).
10. Earth is orbiting faster and 2000 light-years closer to a black hole in a new map of our galaxy: our orbit speed is 227 km/s, up seven from previous calculations (phys.org).
11. The world’s loneliest elephant is finally going home (BBC).
12. “Do astronauts need to clean the outside of space station windows?” No bugs in space, but micrometeoroids (space dust) aplenty (r/askscience).
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