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Toyota Unveils Improved Version of Its Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle With More Than 2x the Range

0606_2
The FCHV-adv.

Toyota Motor Company (TMC) has formally introduced a new, advanced version of its Highlander-based fuel cell hybrid vehicle (FCHV) equipped with a newly designed higher-performance Toyota fuel cell stack. The FCHV-adv provides a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency through improved fuel cell unit performance, enhancements to the regenerative braking system, and a reduction in energy consumed by the auxiliary systems.

Equipped with TMC-developed 70 Mpa (10,000 psi) high-pressure hydrogen tanks, the FCHV-adv has a range of approximately 830 km (516 miles) based on the Japanese 10-15 cycle on a single fueling—more than double that of the older FCHV.

Under the more rigorous JC08 test cycle, approximate range is 760 km (472 miles). In testing last year, an earlier version of the FCHV-adv successfully completed a real-world 560-km (348-mile) long-distance road test by traveling from Osaka to Tokyo on a single fueling of hydrogen. (Earlier post.)

Further improvements to the fuel cell stack include incorporating degradation control for the electrode catalyst and improving fuel cell durability.

The building block of the Toyota FC Stack is the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), where engineers focused on the basic problem of internally produced water interfering with electrical generation within the MEA at low temperatures.

Fundamental research, such as internal visualization tests, was carried out to understand the behavior and amount of water generated in the fuel cell, allowing engineers to optimize the MEA design to improve low-temperature startup.

As a result, the TOYOTA FCHV-adv can start and operate in cold regions at temperatures as low as -30°C Celsius, meaning the vehicle can be used in a wider variety of conditions and climates.

During development, TMC analyzed results and data from various utilization studies by the Japan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Demonstration Project organized by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, tests conducted by the California Fuel Cell Partnership in the United States and cold-weather tests in Timmins, Canada.

While steadily conducting research and development to resolve issues such as how to improve the durability and reduce costs of the Toyota FC Stack, TMC is working with government, energy companies and other concerned parties to actively bring about widespread fuel cell vehicle use.

A Toyota FCHV-adv is to be provided as a test-ride vehicle at the Environmental Showcase within the International Media Center during the July 7-9 Hokkaido Toyako Summit.

The FCHV-adv acquired vehicle-type certification from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) on 3 June.

Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Specification
  FCHV-adv FCHV
Length/width/height [mm] 4,735/1,815/1,685 4,735/1,815/1,685
Weight (kg) 1,880 1,880
Seating capacity 5 5
Max. range [km]
10-15 test cycle / JC08 test cycle
Approx. 830 / Approx. 760 Approx. 330 / –
Max. speed [kph] 155 155
Fuel cell Name Toyota FC Stack Toyota FC Stack
Type PEM PEM
Output [kW] 90 90
Motor Type Perm. magnet Perm. magnet
Max. output [kW] 90 90
Max. torque [Nm] 260 260
Max. storage pressure [MPa] 70 35
Tank capacity [L] 156 148
Battery type NiMH NiMH

Comments

Schmeltz

Certainly Toyota, the sacrosanct Automaker of all things fuel efficient, genetically incapable of making errors, and just plain all around good corporate citizen, is intelligent enough not to fall for this millenia's largest farce known as the horrible monster of Hydrogen??? Tell me it isn't so!!! (all sarcasm intended).

NCyder

@Schmeltz

The problem is basic human nature. Pie in the sky must be good because it is pie ... and it is in the sky ...

Schmeltz

516 mile range!?! That's excellent. The automakers just keep making these things better and better. I still see Hydrogen as better range extender application, such as the Chevrolet Volt fuel cell REEV, but the above is an excellent thing.

stas peterson

Much ado about very little. The only item of significance is the "improved" auxilairy systems.

A higher percentage of regenerative braking and lower power consumption on the electric subsystems.

Treehugger

excellent work, but the fuel cell approach based on pressurized or liquified H2 or even hydride storage is flawed. The problems remains and will remains the poor overwhole efficiency of the well to tank (not to mention the unpractical aspect and sefety issues of handling H2 liquefied or pressurized). The problem that the world is going to face with the depletion of fossil energies, is the scarcity of primary energy, on top of globlal warming. So the world can simply not afford a solution based on poor well to tank efficiency, period.

This master piece of engineering is a pure lost of time.

Only the oxyde fuel cell or the direct ethanol or methanol fuel cells (providing we can improe the efficiency of these later) are worth continuing.

John Taylor

Well, all is not lost.

As soon as improved batteries are ready, they can toss the Hydrogen system and put batteries in.

If it was offered with batteries giving a 200 km range, then each year had the range extended as batteries improve this would be a super car.

Roger Pham

Treehugger,
H2 synthesized from water, solar, wind, or nuclear energy will replace fossil fuel.
Battery-electricity is a more efficient route, but society will still need a source of renewable energy storage produced in seasons of excess renewable energy production for use in season of increase energy consumption. H2 so far has proven to be the most efficient and least expensive form of synthetic chemical fuel made directly from water using renewable energy sources.

Let's say, in the winter, which may last 5-6 months in northern regions, you will need to generate electricity from the stored H2 to charge your BEV. Then, you will see that a car (FCV-HEV) that can directly utilize H2 to the tune of 60% efficiency from tank-to-wheel wise like the Honda FCX will be more efficient than a BEV getting its electricity produced from H2. (~35% H2 to grid to wheel). When considering the value of waste heat used to heat the vehicle's cabin, then FCV will be even more efficient than BEV charged from H2-fueled grid electricity.

When you average out the increase in BEV's efficiency in the summer when charged directly from solar PV panels vs. the FCV's efficiency edge in the winter, then, BEV and FCV-HEV have comparable overall efficiency. This is to be fair!

So, there, all is not lost.

EJ_San_Fran

Does Toyota still use platinum as catalyst in their fuel cells? Or something else?

Hybrid Fan

How much energy does it take to squeeze all that H2 to 650 bar, or liquefy it? With no plan to recover any of that energy prior to end use, hydrogen makes no sense. It always will be a fuel for the future. Perhaps (one day, of course) it can be used in flying cars.

HarveyD

Smaller, multi-fuel cells may eventually have a role to play as genset in future PHEVs specially for larger vehicles such as our beloved Hummers, Expeditions, inter-city buses, long haul trucks and military vehicles etc.

Smaller on board reformers will make multi-fuel cells possible within 10 years or so.

Treehugger

Roger Pham

Yes we need a storage energy process but I don't think it will be H2, too expansive and too impractical an too inefficient. The direct generation of H2 by Solar requires temperature more than 2700C and is even more inefficient than electrolysis, means you would need to cover huge amount of land with highly sophisticated concentrators. Also some simple calculation shows that the amount of water that it would required would be humungous.

Hydrogen is bad enough on its own merits (or lack thereof) to bring up water use, since there really isn't any use of water; it's only borrowed. No water is destroyed in the process; it's just regenerated somewhere else. The problem is the overall inefficiency of the process, (including compression costs), the high cost, and the lack of infrastructure, while electricity or liquid fuels can use existing (already paid for) infrastructure. If long term energy storage of renewables is really needed, and there are good reasons to believe it is not, then there are cheaper and more efficient ways to do it than H2.

George

What the hell happened to the "Remember personal info" function? Moderator, can it be restored?

Treehugger

I disagree that the water is for free, water in liquid and water in form of vapor don't have the same value, even if the vapor return to liquid at some point. If you put a concentrator to dissociate water in a sunny place like the Mohave desert where water is extremely scarce the cost of bringing the water will be real issue. Some simple calculation that if you wanted to run all the car in L.A using H2 decompressed from water, it would double the water consumption of the city. Do you think it is realistic to double the water consumption of a city like L.A were the water supply is already a challenge ?

Johne

Even if the H2 concept can get over the production, storage, distribution and delivery issues in both developed and undeveloped countries, there are two issues that can bring it to a dead stop. First, the Hindenberg factor - one explosion and the concept is dead. Second, H2 leaks from everything. When the effects of higher concentrations of H2 in the atmosphere are fully understood (Ozone layer effects for example) H2 may be banned along with other Ozone depleting gases.

Paul Berg

Hydogen cost a lot of energy to produce, that is what many people talk about. First of all, the energy production big parts of the world is preparing for is natural energy like wind, solar, water and moore. Theese natural energys has been used in a very small procentage during our industrial revolution for moore than 100 years. Lets talk about waste....the oil and coal has had plenty of time to make earth sick. Now, the best technicians and companys all over the world is trying to make products that does not polute, and people are talking about waste, too expencive... Sorry, but compared to what the world has wasted using oil and coal this is really nothing...let me say it like this....noooooothiiiiing ! And this extra cost will not be at cost of our health, earth, waters, woods !!!

Wells

My compromise position is using hydrogen as a combustable fuel in a hybrid or PHEV drivetrain. Hydrogen won't have to be stored at high pressure, and hybrid infrastructure can utilize any practical fuel. The real problem with automobiles is their shear numbers and the increasing distances which they're driven daily. An 'Apollo Project' ought not lead to the implementation of some alternative fuel for motor vehicles as much as lead to significant reductions in the need for driving. The low driving range (on battery power) PHEV achieves that sort of Apollo Project objective.

Roger Pham

Hydrogen can be electrolyzed from water using wind electricity for a cost of $3 to $4/kg (equivalent to 1 gallon of gasoline). When gasoline cost $1.50, H2 would be very expensive, but now, H2 made from wind electricity is competitive with gasoline. H2 made from coal or waste biomass now costs $1 to $2 respectively.

As more and more advancements are being made in H2 storage, handling, and production, the future hydrogen economy will be nearer and nearer to reality.

Let me repeat one more time: H2 is the most efficient form of chemical energy storage for renewable energy. Any concern regarding the inefficiency of H2 is not in keeping with reality, especially after consideration of all other options. The production, handling and consumption of H2 is the least polluting of all known energy forms. There are H2 programs in most industrialized countries, and for these good reasons.

Doug

To resolve the issue of hydrogen production, just use natural gas. Boom, production problem solved. Now you dont have to worry about where that hydrogen comes from. Just in case chicken little is reading, we have lots and lots of domestic natural gas. Dont get hung up on "its not renewable" it is. Biogas can also be used to create methane, and thats 4 atoms of hydrogen for those counting.

Bill

I doubt that.

Natural gas is the current practical source of hydrogen, at $8-$10/kg.

You've ignored the low efficiency of room-temperature electrolysis, as well as the efficiency loss from compressing hydrogen to 10,000 psi (the only way a hydrogen-powered FCV gets any decent range)

Also, you can't wheel Dakota-generated wind power down here to the southeastern U.S. (most of which has very low wind potential)

>Hydrogen can be electrolyzed from water using wind electricity for a cost of $3 to $4/kg

Hunter

Hi everyone,

I'm certainly not an expert. I've been learning about hydrogen use and the vehicles like the Honda FCV was estimated to cost over $1 million, so I don't know how practical that is. Honda didn't know how long it would take to make production cars of the FCV for under $100 K. We seem much closer to finding solutions to our dilemma using cars like the EV-1 when they were charged during off peak times when usually we dump excess electrcity (7pm to 7am or so). The vehicles cost about $17K to make and ran on electricity. Li Ion batteries made the last one run about 340 miles on a charge that AeroVronment, Inc. (AVAV) during the last year of production could fill in about 30 minutes. The last batteries lasted 100K miles. The large flaw was the loss of efficiency in colder climates, but it was being addressed with insulatory properties when the plug was pulled on batter technology applications for transportation. Also, there are 86 vehicles in the world with an average mpg of over 40, yet only two (Prius & Civic hybrid) are currently sold in the U.S. I'm not including the Civic GSX since it doesn't use petro.

Hoping to hear from electrical engineers, etc. on this topic. Thank you.

Hunter

Hi everyone,

I'm certainly not an expert. I've been learning about hydrogen use and the vehicles like the Honda FCV was estimated to cost over $1 million, so I don't know how practical that is. Honda didn't know how long it would take to make production cars of the FCV for under $100 K. We seem much closer to finding solutions to our dilemma using cars like the EV-1 when they were charged during off peak times when usually we dump excess electrcity (7pm to 7am or so). The vehicles cost about $17K to make and ran on electricity. Li Ion batteries made the last one run about 340 miles on a charge that AeroVronment, Inc. (AVAV) during the last year of production could fill in about 30 minutes. The last batteries lasted 100K miles. The large flaw was the loss of efficiency in colder climates, but it was being addressed with insulatory properties when the plug was pulled on batter technology applications for transportation. Also, there are 86 vehicles in the world with an average mpg of over 40, yet only two (Prius & Civic hybrid) are currently sold in the U.S. I'm not including the Civic GSX since it doesn't use petro.

Hoping to hear from electrical engineers, etc. on this topic. Thank you.

Roger Pham

@Bill and Hunter,

Your doubts regarding the economy of Hydrogen can be alleviated by the following link, (select the following link using ctrl button and left mouse button simultaneously, copy the link and paste it to your browser address line)

http://hydrogendiscoveries.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/top-ten-hydrogen-myths/

Indeed, wind electricity to hydrogen in modern FCV's can result in operating cost comparable to gasoline at $3.50/gallon. And no, FCV's won't cost anywhere near $1 million USD, either. Give GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Huyndai, BMW, Daimler-Benz... etc. some credits for pushing FCV's, won't y'all?

rexis

So how much H2 do we have in 10000psi of 156L space?

Wells

Rodger Pham, I'm sorry, but I go to the trouble of expressing a compromise position -- that hydrogen may be more practical as a combustable fuel -- and this is not enough for you. If you can't accept that viewpoint, neither can I accept your unwavering position on hydrogen fuel cells. You may think you've got it all figured-out, but you have yet to dedicate the least attention to the benefits and advantages that only PHEV technology offers, nor have you addressed the significant production, distribution, application problems with fuel cell technology. Your love of cars diminishes your humanity.

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