Fuel cell vehicles are weathering winter chill

What’s the performance like for fuel cell vehicles in adverse cold weather conditions? A couple of operators of fleets of Toyota fuel cell SUVs found out recently via the record cold spells that have been hitting the East Coast, particularly in the northeast part of the country.

Toyota said Connecticut-based Proton Onsite, operating a fleet of FCHV-adv fuel cell vehicles, has been finding that even in single digit temperatures there’s been little challenge in making them work as they are supposed to. In one case, one employee went out to one of the vehicles when it was three degrees outside, brushed off snow and started it right up. The driving range of 300 miles, “despite the cold and blasting the heater,” continues to remain not impacted as well.

image via Toyota

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Air Products seems to have a similar story.

“Our employees have driven it to community and business-related events during one of Pennsylvania’s worst winters in recent memory,” said Nick Mittica, Air Products’ commercial manager, hydrogen energy systems.  ”The FCHV-adv has had great performance.”

It isn’t that surprising, at least for Toyota, that its fuel cell vehicles having been performing well in the bad weather. Over the last decade, they’ve “logged millions of miles in some of the most extreme climates on the planet. In Yellowknife, Canada, where temperatures reach -30 degrees Celsius, fuel cell engineers spent weeks verifying cold weather start up, performance and durability. In Death Valley, they verified that it also can beat the heat.”

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling