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

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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

Roger Pham

Wells,
Agree with you that H2 is great as combustible fuel in a HEV or PHEV, and agree further that urban planning must be done so as to reduce the driving distances, and more public transportation should be planned. Each year tens of thousands of people are killed in auto accidents and hundreds of thousands are maimed and many remained handicapped for life. Traffic congestion wastes a lot of time and productivity. Policies must be made in order to reduce dependency on private automobiles for daily commute. For off-hour and weekend driving, nothing can beat the pleasure and comfort of a private auto.

But this article is about new advancements in Toyota FCV. With steady advancements forthcoming in FCV technology, let's keep an open mind toward the future.

clett

Don't worry everyone, this announcement is just another symptom of the "hydrogen hangover".

No serious automotive engineer sees any real potential role for H2 in passenger vehicles in terms of efficiency or cost, but these H2 R&D programmes were initiated years ago when governments and other bodies were pumping money into the idea for all sorts of other reasons.

These remaining, ill-advised and now redundant H2 research programmes are still underway at most manufacturers and their results will continue to be announced with great fanfare for two main reasons:

1) To show that all those R&D dollars actually produced something.

and

2) A bit of "green" press to improve their corporate image among those that haven't been "told" about hydrogen

Wells

Roger,

I'm glad to read your positions supporting public transit and reducing automobile dependency. However, Toyota's latest means to extend fuel cell driving range may only increase automobile dependency.

I don't doubt that there will be various applications for fuel cell technology. But, basic physics still seem to indicate that fuel cell tech is not as energy efficient as chemical battery power, nor can it offer as many significant advantages and benefits as PHEV technology.

My fear is that hydrogen fuel cell technology is being advanced specifically to be exploited as a proprietary energy source that can advance various monopolistic arrangements. The Dark Lord Dick(McEvil)Cheney strikes again!

Bill

No, if you read his analysis his best case is $7/kg delivered with all costs included, assuming you make it at a central location (i.e. high-temperature, highest-efficiency electrolysis) and then truck it to distribute.

If you assume point-of-use generation at the local fuel station or at home (e.g. Honda's cogen setup), you're stuck with much lower electrolysis efficiency.

He then claims FCVs are twice as efficient as ICE-powered vehicles, so that's how he comes up with $3.50/gallon.

But even he acknowledges that the FCV is significantly lighter and uses a much smaller prime mover.

If I chop 1000lbs and cut the size of the ICE in half for a conventional vehicle I can also achieve some impressive improvement in mpg. :)

>wind electricity to hydrogen in modern FCV's can result in operating cost comparable to gasoline at $3.50/gallon.

Roger Pham

"H2 as proprietary energy source" (?)

Not if you produce it right in your home using your own solar panels or wind turbine. H2 can be produced anywhere via electrolysis using surplus electricity from any sources. Totally different from petroleum, which must be imported, refined, and transported hundreds and thousands of miles from the refinery to end users.

Bill,
The Honda FCX Clarity has a rating of 68 MPGe. The same-size Honda Accord has an MPG of ~25-27 mpg. FCV clearly has nearly 3x the efficiency of a equivalent ICE car.

HarveyD

Wouldn't a much smaller fuel cell coupled with a much larger battery pack make an alternative choice, practical, clean running PHEV? Range could be handled with varous H2 tank size.

Wells

Roger,
I especially agree with home-based power generation, promoting solar panels primarily. But because they're only able to generate small amounts of electricity, the more efficient capture and storage of that energy is in a chemical battery.

This latest Toyota FCV development, (higher pressure storage), is intended to extend driving range. Home-based power systems offer a choice of whether to use the energy for driving (long distances) or powering household appliances and reducing driving distances.

Anyway, for this and many other reasons, I must continue advocating for PHEVs as the far more promising technology. You've got a good head on your shoulders. You too keep an open mind about which technology will emerge dominant.

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