"Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced rapidly over the last two years," said Irv Miller, Toyota group vice president, environmental and public affairs. "In 2015, our plan is to bring to market a reliable and durable fuel cell vehicle with exceptional fuel economy and zero emissions, at an affordable price."
To show the state of Toyota's hydrogen program, a hydrogen fuel cell, electric-powered Toyota Highlander achieved an estimated range of 431 miles on a single full tank of compressed hydrogen gas in a recent test run. The crossover racked up an average fuel economy of 68.3 miles/kg during a day-long trip down the southern California coast.
During this in-field test held in June, the Highlander Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (officially referred to as the FCHV-adv) was evaluated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Savannah River National Laboratory (SNRL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The goal was to conduct a collaborative evaluation of the real world driving range of the FCHV-adv.
On Tuesday, June 30, two fuel cell vehicles carried two Toyota Technical Center engineers, an SRNL engineer and a NREL engineer as they completed a 331.5 mile extended round trip drive between Torrance, California and San Diego. "This evaluation of the FCHV-adv demonstrates not only the rapid advances in fuel cell technology, but also the viability of this technology for the future," said Jared Farnsworth, Toyota Technical Center advanced powertrain engineer.
The drive began at a Toyota facility in Torrance, traveled north to Santa Monica, turned south to San Diego and finally retraced the route back to Torrance. In an effort to emulate a typical California commute, the route encompassed a variety of drive cycles, including high-speed highway driving, moderate-speed highway driving, and stop and go traffic on surface streets. Each vehicle was outfitted with a data collection system that captured vehicle speed, distance traveled, hydrogen consumed, hydrogen tank pressure, temperature, and internal tank volume.
Total driving range data from each vehicle was calculated by SRNL and NREL engineers. The results were averaged for an estimated range of 431 miles, with an average fuel economy of 68.3 miles/kg.
During a recent interview with the head of General Motor's fuel-cell program director, Jon Beriesa, he told us that the sixth-generation Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen hybrid is capable of 300 miles. Beriesa's group continues to work at increasing their system's range while reducing the system's size and cost.