Toyota Bests Chevy Sequel With 348 Mile Drive Of Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle

Toyota's announced today they've one-upped Chevy's little Sequel with their own FCHV (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle). If you remember, the Chevy Sequel took a 300-mile one-way drive across the state of New York to become the first fuel cell vehicle to go more than 300 miles in one fill-up. Toyota's FCHV team decided they could beat that and they have — the team just finished a 348-mile one-way drive from from Osaka to Tokyo on a single fill-up of hydrogen. The road test — part of ToMoCo's FCHV public-road test program — started in central Osaka City and finished up at the Mega Web auto-themed amusement park in Tokyo's waterfront area, covering approximately 348 miles. But not only was the fuel cell hybrid minivan-UV able to make it the full distance, it was even able to do it with the air conditioner on — the entire way. Beat that — umm — every vehicle on the market. Full press release after the jump.

TOYOTA FCHV Makes Osaka-Tokyo Trip Without Refueling —Initial Hydrogen Fill-up Enough for 560-kilometer Journey— Tokyo — TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced that an improved version of its TOYOTA FCHV fuel cell hybrid vehicle successfully completed a long-distance road test today by traveling from Osaka to Tokyo on a single fueling of hydrogen.

Today's road test—part of the TOYOTA FCHV's public-road test program—started in front of the Osaka Prefectural Government Office in central Osaka City and, via the Meishin Expressway, Tomei Expressway and Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, concluded at the Mega Web automobile-themed amusement facility in Tokyo's waterfront area, covering approximately 560 kilometers. The entire trip was completed with the air conditioner on and with no need to stop for refueling.

The TOYOTA FCHV used in the trip is 25% more fuel efficient than earlier versions, due to improvements in the TMC-developed, high-performance Toyota FC Stack fuel cell and to improvements in the control system for managing fuel cell output and battery charging/discharging. It also features TMC-developed 70Mpa high-pressure hydrogen tanks capable of storing approximately twice the amount of hydrogen as the TOYOTA FCHV's previous 35Mpa high-pressure hydrogen tanks. These improvements make it possible to achieve a single-fueling cruising distance of approximately 750km (in the 10-15 Japanese test cycle, as calculated by TMC).

In addition to issues related to cost and hydrogen storage methods, as well as other technical matters, the supply infrastructure and other issues of broad societal importance also need to be considered. TMC is actively working toward making fuel cell vehicles widespread by cooperating with the Japanese government, energy companies and other concerned entities. Against this backdrop, TMC is making steady progress in research and development related to, among others, cruising distance, low-temperature starts, durability and reduced costs.