Japanese automaker Toyota may be renowned for its petrol-electric hybrid vehicles, but now it can celebrate a significant achievement with a fuel cell hybrid.
Its Toyota Highlander Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle Advanced achieved an estimated range of 431 miles on a single full tank of compressed hydrogen gas. It also achieves an average fuel economy of 68.3miles/kg.
The achievement comes after the US Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Savannah River National Laboratory approached Toyota in mid-2008 to participate in a collaborative evaluation of the real world driving range of the fuel cell hybrid vehicle advanced. On June 30 this year, two Toyota technical engineers, along with engineers from both laboratories, completed a 331.5mile extended round trip between Torrance and San Diego.
The driving range from each vehicle was then calculated and the results were averaged for an estimated range of 431 miles - as well as an average fuel economy of 68.3miles/kg.
Speaking about the analysis, Jared Farnsworth, Toyota Technical Centre advanced powertrain engineer, stated that the evaluation showed not only the rapid advances in fuel cell technology but also its viability as a technology of the future.
By comparison, the 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid achieves an estimated range of 26mpg combined fuel economy with a full tank range of approximately 450 miles.