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Quantum Delivers First 5 of 30 Hydrogen-Fueled Hybrids

Quantum’s hydrogen injector

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has delivered five hydrogen-fueled Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles to the City of Santa Ana, California.

This is part of a larger South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) program to develop and demonstrate 30 hydrogen hybrid vehicles to fleets in Southern California. (Earlier post.)

The H2 Prius offers performance comparable to the gasoline version with increased fuel economy, according to Quantum. The hydrogen hybrid includes:

  • Electronic multi-point hydrogen injection system using Quantum’s hydrogen injector and engine controller.

  • Turbocharger and inter-cooler for increased performance and efficiency.

  • Quantum Compact lightweight compressed hydrogen fuel storage module. (Storing enough hydrogen to provide sufficient range is one of the larger technology challenges in the conversion.)

  • Hydrogen fuel delivery system comprising of stainless steel tubing produced.

  • FMVSS crashworthiness (CNG guidelines).

H2 Prius Specifications
Power 70 hp (52 kW) @ 4,500 rpm
Torque 111 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
Fuel consumption 56–58 m/kg (FTP city test)
40–60 m/kg (real world estimate)
Fuel capacity 1.6 kg @ 5,000 psig /compressed
2.4 kg @ 5,000 psig (extended range package)

The H2 storage system. Click to enlarge.

With the standard storage option (1.6 kg), the H2 Prius will have an effective hydrogen-fueled range of about 80 miles. The extended range storage could kick that up to approximately 120 miles.

While 25 of the vehicles will use compressed hydrogen, AQMD will also evaluate hydride storage in five converted vehicles.

The complete hydrogen internal combustion engine fuel system, including both the injection system and hydrogen storage system, was developed by Quantum at its Advanced Vehicle Concept Center in Lake Forest, CA.

In addition to performing in specified starting conditions and meeting certain driveability specifications, the vehicles have been designed and tested to achieve SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) emissions standards.

In March 2004, the AQMD awarded Quantum a contract to engineer an OEM-caliber hydrogen fuel system and perform accelerated long-term durability testing, including crash testing.

AQMD’s reasoning is that hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles show promise as a bridge technology between conventional vehicles to fuel cell vehicles and have the potential to significantly reduce VOC, NOx, CO and air toxic emissions as well as green house gas emissions.

This delivery marked the arrival of the first hydrogen internal combustion engine-powered hybrid vehicles and formal dedication of a hydrogen refueling station as part of the AQMD’s hydrogen fleet and infrastructure demonstration program.

In addition to Santa Ana, the demonstration sites for the vehicles will include the cities of Burbank, Ontario, Riverside, and Santa Monica, as well as the AQMD headquarters in Diamond Bar. Each city and the AQMD will operate five hydrogen-fueled Priuses for five years.

AQMD is also testing a plug-in Prius using the EnergyCS system. (Earlier post.)




Wouldn't it be better to use the hydrogen to run a fuel cell on board the Prius to run the electric motor, instead of burning it in an inefficient ICE? You would still use gasoline but the range would be greatly extended. This way the ICE is helping bridge the gap to an eventual all electric fuel cell powered vehicle. Just a thought.


> better a fuel cell than ICE?

Fuel cell economics are currently deplorable.
For that matter, so are H2 storage solutions.

Sure would be nice to see Toyo make a diesel Prius
w/ 1000 mile range and 70+ mpg.



Now we are talking: a Diesel, Lithium, plug in Hybrid.
If you could get the diesel to start nice and smoothly, you would have a winner.
The objections to diesel fumes would be reduced as the engine would be used very little.
"All" we need are a many cycle large Lithium battery and a smooth start diesel engine.
Might add some ultracaps for better braking regeneration.
Might cost quite a bit until production picked up.
But these ideas are not pie in the sky: they are pie on the next table.



I agree with you completely that fuel cell economics and hydrogen storage are deplorable. I think the use of hydrogen for a fuel cell and/or for an ICE makes no sense whatsoever. But for the sake of this experiment, again, why not use a fuel cell to utilize the hydrogen. Again, none of these solutions are currently practical.


They are ahead of schedual on getting hydrogen cheaper then gasoline by thier deadline.

They are also ahead of schedual on getting the storage method good enough by deadline.

They are also ahead of schedual on making the fuel cell itseld durable and cheap.

Nuff said.


What about infrastructure for delivering all this hydrogen?


It's a good step, hydrogen will just be an intermediary step until battery technology can displace it anyway (after all, hydrogen fuel cells are just a refillable chemical battery).

But the lower power ratings of ICE hyrogen are horrible, I don't think this car could work well in mountains or hilly areas. The ICE barely makes up for the kWs drained by the 2 electric motors.


They are testing early prototypes of the delivery system right now after all we still have 25 years to go.

As for battery we all hope and pray a great battery that rruely can be mass produced in large BULK will come that will do the job. But we cant depend on any one option and it looks like hydrogen will be good enough soon enough.


If hydrogen can be made from carbohydrates at $3/kg, then the 50 miles/kg economy of this vehicle works out to a fuel cost of 6 cents/mile.  This is roughly competitive with gasoline.

They still need better range (and what does the weight of the gas cylinders do to vehicle capacity?), but that's not too bad.


Weight isnt an issue at all since gasoline weighs soo much compared to h2. And the tanks are getting lighter.

I THINK they are hoping for something like 75 mpk h2 and a storage cap of 4 kgs. Fuelcell wise not ice of course;/

Ron Gremban

H2 is a very inefficient energy carrier. If made from electricity (possible renewable sources) via electrolysis, around 50% is lost. Then it must be compressed (~15% loss?) and transported, usually inefficiently as a gas. Finally, if burned in a fuel cell, 40-50% of what's left is lost; 70+% in an ICE. All this gives an overall efficiency of less than 21% (<13% with an ICE), compared to around 60% for a battery electric (BEV). And the H2 Prius' 80-120 mile range is equivalent to that of a pre-Li-ion BEV. Other sources of H2 are natural gas, oil, and coal. All release greenhouse gases (coal especially), natural gas is beginning to get imported as well as oil, and natural gas would be much more efficient to use in an ICE directly instead of first converting it to H2.

Carbon output of a BEV (or PHEV, see below) running worst-case on coal-produced electricity matches that of an efficient gasoline hybrid and is 50% better than an ordinary ICE; on the US 50% coal mix, it is 40% better than the hybrid; and in California, it is at least 80% better. Natural gas (24-39% BEV well-to-wheels efficiency and clean but beginning to be imported), coal (dirty but plentiful), and hydro (renewable but harm to rivers) are the major fuel sources for U.S. electricity. Some states like CA have laws mandating an increasing percentage of renewables in electricity generation every year, and individuals can put solar panels on their homes and businesses to remove all pollutants from the EV fuel source. BEVs and PHEVs would charge mostly at night, using unused grid capacity (making the grid more efficient and matching most windpower output) vs. the need to create an H2 infrastructure from scratch.

A pluggable hybrid (PHEV) could get the efficiency advantage of BEVs for much of the vehicle's mileage, then use e.g. cellulosic ethanol (or H2 if necessary) for its range extender fuel. We don't have nearly enough farm wastes, forest brush, and room to grow e.g. switchgrass to make enough carbon-neutral cellulosic ethanol to fuel all our vehicles, but we would if they were PHEVs!

Ron's Mother


If I told you once I told you one thousand times...lay off the crack pipe.

Electrolysis of water is not 50% efficient, furthermore there is no feedstock cost whatsoever associated with the sun, the wind, the earth, or the ocean.

Ron Gremban

I just found an article claiming 66% efficiency for electrolysis, the highest I've ever seen. On the other hand, most fuel cells run at closer to 30% efficiency; the 50% I used is more of an ideal projection. And even at 66% and 50% my relative efficiencies argument still holds.

Renewables have no feedstock cost, but do have a capital cost that must be amortized. We need to use renewables as efficiently as possible, and the battery electric portion of a PHEV's range is 2 to 4 TIMES as efficient as via the H2 cycle, even using fuel cells (vs. H2 ICE) -- meaning that kWh of renewable energy goes TWICE to FOUR TIMES as far via batteries than via H2!

(I may not continue to monitor and respond further to this blog)

Ron Gremban

P.S. Impostor! My Mom doesn't follow this blog, see H2 as a solution, identify herself as "Ron's Mom", or pretend that I don't make sense!


Your appraisal of PHEV vs. ethanol is spot-on according to my own calculations.  Bravo.

Socrate HATOUM

let the algues and the bacterias do the job as usual. They 'll deliver Bio-hydrogen very soon.


mike, any updates on the PHEV priuses being studied by the aqmd?

Bob Carpenter

Hey guys aren't you all missing an important point? Who in there right mind is going to park a car in their garage at night with a 5,000 psi compressed hydrogen fuel tank, then go off to bed for a sound night's sleep? Hydrogen is a very small molecule and loves to leak out at any chance. It also has extreemly wide flamability limits (it's easily set off by a spark). Unless a low pressure hydrogen storage system is developed (carbon nano tubes etc.) this concept will never pass muster with the manufacturer's product liability lawyers .


I will park that car, let me have it. Safety, etc. systems can always be developed, as can fail safes and secondary or tertiary, or quaternary seals if need be.


hi, while you argue, people are making internal combustion hydrogen engines work. they have always worked and are very efficient, more so than a fuel cell , i mean where are you gonna get hydrogen from to power the fuel cell which results in water? water. so why go backwards????

use clean electricity, windmills, solar, wave and ocean current mills, to separate water on board a car, only store water people, no tanks of hydrogen. and separate it as needed with easy electrolysis. whats so hard about that.

Im off to drive my clean car which is basically free , while you all drive and pay the oil man $200 a month and make him rich. add up your fuel cost over 10 years and all the pollution you are creating. thats why the ice is melting, then the water will get very very hot, then the storms will get huge and fires even bigger, and i guess all our homes will be wipes away from the earth. mother earth will take over by removing us all from the planet.

think of your young children and grand children and convert your lives to clean energy.

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