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Toyota Boosts Fuel-Cell Vehicle Range to Pass Honda

Toyota’s advanced FCHV-adv doubles the driving range of its predecessor, beating rival Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, which launches production next week.

In a continuing race with its top Japanese rival, Toyota Motor Corp. says it has taken its FCHV fuel-cell vehicle to the next step, increasing its range to 516 miles (830 km), besting the range of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.’s FCX Clarity that can travel up to 385 miles (620 km).

Toyota says its new “FCHV-adv” was certified by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport June 3 and will be leased to governmental agencies, among others, later this year.

Toyota’s advanced FCHV-adv also exceeds the driving range of Toyota’s previous-generation model fuel-cell vehicle, which was capable of traveling 205 miles (330 km) on one tank of hydrogen.

The new model is operable in temperatures as low as –22 F (-30 C) and has a maximum speed of 97 mph (155 km/h), Toyota says.

Honda’s Clarity, by comparison, operates at the same low temperatures but has a top speed of 99 mph (169 km/h). Toyota’s model uses a nickel-metal-hydride battery, whereas the Clarity has a lithium-ion battery.

Toyota says it improved the fuel efficiency of its FCHV-adv 25% by enhancing the car’s regenerative braking system and lessening the auxiliary system’s consumption of energy. The auto maker credits the doubling in driving range to its 10,150-psi (700-bar) high-pressure-hydrogen tanks.

Toyota reportedly says it will lease the FCHV-adv beginning later this year in Japan to governmental fleets and other parties.

Meanwhile, Honda launches production of the FCX Clarity next week at a new, dedicated assembly plant in Japan. Leases to Southern California customers, who have met the auto maker’s strict standards and can pay the $600 per-month fee, begin next month in the U.S. and this fall in Japan.

Honda has said it expects to lease 200 FCX Claritys during the car’s first three years of production.

TAGS: Vehicles
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