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DRIVE GM prototype hydrogen test gets a boost

From wire services

The Japanese Government has granted GM the first-ever approval to drive a liquid hydrogen-fueled vehicle on public roads in Japan.

GM's HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle will be the first to drive on the streets of Japan using liquid hydrogen as its fuel. HydroGen3's 400 kilometer (250 mile) driving range is the highest of any type of fuel cell vehicle approved for public roads in Japan.

HydroGen3, based on the Zafira MPV minivan, is GM's first entry in the Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Project, which is being directed by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Beginning in June, FedEx will operate HydroGen3 several days a week on its regular delivery routes in Tokyo.

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GM will collect data from FedEx, and will provide all vehicle engineering and maintenance. FedEx drivers will receive training from GM engineers.

Safer child seat

New Lenox Baby Products, an old-fashioned garage start-up company in Dunnellon, Fla., showed off its new high-tech "talking" car seat at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit earlier this nonth. The new seat tells the driver if the seat isn't buckled in properly or if it is about to tip over.

The Tattle Tale was developed as a result of industry research that suggests child seats are installed improperly by consumers as much as 90 percent of the time.

The Tattle Tale uses sensors to detect when the seat is installed improperly or when the buckle is released.

If a child isn't sitting properly or the buckles are unfastened, a soothing woman's voice says: "Warning! Car seat is loose."

New Lenox is working on getting wide distribution for its Tattle Tale seats through national and regional retailers. Typical child safety seats cost from $50 to $150 at most stores. The Tattle Tale seats are available for $189.95 and $199.95 at www.smartchildseat.com

Car production up

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Japan's domestic auto production rose 9.1 percent in January, to 853,378 vehicles as automakers rolled out cars to keep up with strong exports, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association says.

Japan's exports of vehicles rose 16.8 percent, to 383,168 units, the 13th consecutive month of increases.

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