Announced today, Toyota has made some major developments with their Advanced Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV-adv) with a newly designed high performance fuel cell (FC) Stack. Just certified in Japan for road use on June 3, the new design results in 830km (515 miles) on a single fueling - performance that more than doubles that of the TOYOTA FCHV-adv's predecessor, the TOYOTA FCHV with 330km (205 miles).
After pouring over data generated from various outside studies, Toyota engineers focused their attention on the building block of the Toyota FC Stack, called Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), with a basic yet persistent problem of internally produced water interfering with electrical generation within the MEA at low temperatures. Based on the results of internal visualization tests, optimizations made to the MEA allowed for the FCHV-adv to start and operate in cold regions at temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius, meaning the vehicle can be used in a wider variety of conditions and climates.
In addition, fuel efficiency gains were made by improving fuel cell unit performance, enhancing the regenerative brake system and reducing energy consumed by the auxiliary system. Further changes include incorporating degradation control for the electrode catalyst and improving fuel cell durability. Lastly, using Toyota's recently developed high pressure hydrogen storage tank, cruising range has more than doubled.
Such an increase in cruising range and operating temperatures has big implications for the future, as the benefits of fuel cell hydrogen technology start to overshadow petrol engines and brings the world that much closer to viability and mass consumption. See press release below for technical details