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|
|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|
|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|