Torrance, California – A Toyota Highlander fuel cell hybrid vehicle has completed a government evaluation, achieving an estimated range of 431 miles (693 km) on a single full tank of compressed hydrogen gas, and an average fuel economy of 68.3 miles (109 km) per kg in approximate miles-per-gallon equivalent.
The evaluation took place during a day-long trip down the southern California coast, and was a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Savannah River National Laboratory (SNRL), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which approached Toyota in mid-2008 to evaluate the real-world driving range of the advanced fuel cell hybrid vehicle (FCHV-adv). The test was undertaken using two vehicles, two Toyota Technical Center engineers, and engineers from SRNL and NREL, completing an extended round trip of 331.5 miles (533 km) between Torrance and San Diego.
The route encompassed a variety of drive cycles, including high-speed highway driving, moderate highway driving, and stop-and-go traffic on surface streets. Each vehicle was outfitted with a data collection system that captured vehicle speed, distance travelled, hydrogen used, hydrogen tank pressure, temperature, and internal tank volume.
Based on premium-grade gasoline at US$3.25 per gallon, and with an estimated future price of $2 to $3 per kilogram for hydrogen, the researchers estimated that the FCHV-adv could travel at approximately 68 miles (109 km) for about $2.50, more than double the range of the current Highlander Hybrid at equal or lesser cost, while producing zero emissions.
“Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced rapidly over the last two years,” said Irv Miller, group vice-president of Toyota Motor Sales’ 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.”