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Toyota fuel cell breakthrough

Grrr8: Toyota's prototype Kluger-based FCHV-adv vehicles will be used at next month's G8 leaders summit in Japan.

Latest fuel cell hybrid extends cruising range to 830km

10 Jun 2008

TOYOTA has developed an improved hydrogen-powered fuel cell hybrid vehicle with a cruising range of up to 830km – more than double the 330km benchmark set by its predecessor.

Known as the FCHV-adv (fuel cell hybrid vehicle – advanced) and featuring a new high-performance fuel cell stack, the latest iteration of Toyota’s Kluger-bodied zero-emissions vehicle heralds other significant improvements over the previous FCHV, including a 25 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and the ability to operate at temperatures as low as minus-30 degrees Celsius.

In a statement released last week, Toyota said the efficiency gains were achieved through improved fuel cell unit performance, enhancing the regenerative braking system and reducing energy consumed by the auxiliary system. Fuel cell durability was also improved and “degradation control” incorporated into the electrode catalyst.

The longer cruising range was made possible with slightly bigger hydrogen fuel tanks (up eight litres to a 156-litre capacity) and twice the amount of maximum storage pressure (now 70Mpa).

To improve the cold-temperature performance, Toyota engineers are said to have optimised the fuel cell stack’s membrane electrode assembly (MEA), focusing on the basic problem of internally produced water interfering with electric generation within the MEA at low temperatures.

Other specifications and performance indicators are unchanged, including the 155km/h maximum speed, 1880kg overall weight and the 90kW/260Nm electric motor.

The FCHV-adv will be used as a test-ride vehicle at next month’s G8 leaders summit in Toyako, northern Japan, before being leased to Japanese government agencies and other organisations later this year.

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