Toyota Begins Testing of Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle
Toyota Motor Corp. announced the beginning of real-world testing in California of the FCHV-4, a zero-emissions fuel cell hybrid vehicle that generates its own on-board electricity with compressed hydrogen.The FCHV-4 is based on the Highlander SUV platform and is powered by electricity generated in a high-performance fuel cell stack from hydrogen carried in high-pressure on-board tanks. FCHV is short for “fuel cell hybrid vehicle.”Two FCHV-4s will undergo testing in California, while another five are already on the road in Japan. The vehicle is considered by Toyota to be a hybrid vehicle, with the fuel cell providing the major part of the electricity to run its 107-horsepower permanent magnet motor. Secondary power comes from a nickel-metal hydride battery, which is kept charged by regenerative braking and from the fuel cell itself.The powertrain gives the vehicle a top speed of close to 95 mph and a cruising range of 155 miles before refueling is necessary. Refilling the three high-pressure hydrogen tanks takes less than five minutes.Norihiko Nakamura, an executive advisory engineer responsible for Toyota’s fuel cell development, foresees that it will take at least 10 years before a manufacturer is ready to mass market a fuel cell vehicle to consumers.