Toyota Doubles the Range of its Fuel Cell Vehicle
June 11, 2008
Toyota Motor Corporation has developed a new version of its fuel cell hydrogen vehicle (FCHV) that can travel about 515 miles on a single refueling. Toyota doubled the pressure of its hydrogen storage tanks to 70 megapascals, or about 10,150 pounds per square inch, which accounts for most of the increase in range. Toyota's new "FCHV-adv" also combines a higher-performance fuel cell, enhanced regenerative braking to recharge the battery while slowing down, and a more efficient auxiliary power system to achieve a 25% improvement in fuel economy. The extended range of the vehicle makes it much more practical for use in the United States. Even in places like California, which is developing a "Hydrogen Highway" of fueling stations, the refueling opportunities remain few and far between. However, the Toyota FCHV-adv should be able to make it from the company's fuel station in Torrance to its demonstration site in Davis, a distance of about 400 miles. See the map of hydrogen fueling stations from the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
The improved fuel cell on the FCHV-adv also does a better job of rejecting water that forms within the fuel cell, increasing the vehicle's ability to operate at low temperatures. According to Toyota, the new fuel cell stack can operate at temperatures as low as -22°F. The new fuel cell stack is also more durable, thanks in part to better degradation control for the fuel cell's catalyst. The FCHV-adv was certified as a road-safe vehicle by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport on June 3. See the Toyota press release.