Toyota Says New Fuel-Cell Car Can Go Further on Single Tank

Tests show it's 25% more efficient that earlier car.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Sept. 28 that its new hydrogen powered fuel-cell car had successfully completed a long-distance road test and was shown to be 25% more fuel efficient than earlier versions.

The FCHV vehicle was driven about 350 miles on a single fueling and finished with 30% of the hydrogen still in the tank, said Yoshihiko Masuda, who heads Toyota's fuel-cell car development. The vehicle should be able to travel 880 kilometers on a full tank of hydrogen, which is "the longest-distance journey for fuel-cell cars (on a single fueling) as far as I know," said Masuda.

Earlier versions of the FCHV could run 330 kilometers (206 miles) without refueling. They have been leased to public offices as well as energy-related companies.

The new model is one quarter more fuel efficient due to improvements in the performance of the fuel cell, Toyota said. The fuel tank capacity has also been increased.

Japanese electronics and automakers have been active in development of fuel cells, which produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, leaving water as the only by-product. But the environment-friendly cars face several technological challenges, such as how far they can travel on a single fueling and the extremely high cost of production.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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