Toyota eyes launch of fuel cell hybrid vehicle in 2015

Article by Anita Panait, on September 3, 2013

If one asks Toyota which vehicle offers the best solution to the challenges of energy sources and emissions, the carmaker would answer, "Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle," or FHCV. The Japanese carmaker will showcase the FHCV at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show set to commence on September 10.

At the show, Toyota is expected to show how it was able to develop a marketable fuel cell vehicle and how it is closing in on its target of achieving a driving range and performance comparable to conventional petrol and diesel engines -- using only an ideal, ultra-clean fuel called Hydrogen.

In developing the FHCV, Toyota employed its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology – the same used by Prius and other full hybrid models – replacing the gasoline engine with a fuel cell and the conventional fuel tank with high-pressure hydrogen tanks.  The FCHV features the same electrical components as a full hybrid powertrain. It also featured a 21kW battery that will store energy recovered by its regenerative braking system.

Toyota unveiled its FCV-R Concept at the 2011 Tokyo motor show, and since then, the carmaker has continued to post progress towards its aim of introducing an affordable FCHV saloon model in Japan, the United States and Europe by 2015. The development of the production FHCV is focused on significant cost reduction, durability, reliability and improvements in well-to-wheel carbon dioxide emissions.

The FCV-R Concept has dimensions of 4,745mm in length, 1,510mm in height, and 1,790mm in width. Tested by Toyota in line with official Japanese JC08 criteria, the FCV-R managed to achieve a maximum driving range of about 420 miles while returning no carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide or particulate matter emissions, emitting on water vapor in the process.

Toyota also paid particular attention to the design of the fuel cell and the hydrogen fuel tank. Toyota managed to downsize the fuel cell stack by achieving the highest fuel cell power density yet at 3.0kW per liter. This allowed for the size of the FCV-R’s fuel tank to be reduced, resulting to installation of just two tanks rather than the four as originally planned. [source: Toyota]

Topics: toyota, fuel cell

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