National Fuel Cell Research Center to Provide a Bridge for Nation's First Hybrid Electric Fuel-Cell Vehicles

Project to Develop Fuel Distribution System for Hydrogen-powered Cars

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 2, 2002 — The nation's first highway-ready vehicle powered by a hybrid electric fuel-cell engine will be introduced through the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) at UC Irvine.

The vehicle — the Toyota FCHV — is a next-generation, environmentally friendly automobile fueled by clean-burning hydrogen. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., will initially lease one vehicle to the NFCRC, which will serve as the bridge to the U.S. consumer market. The center will be overseeing how the vehicle is put through daily use and managing hydrogen- refueling infrastructure and research. Working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., the NFCRC will deploy three hydrogen-refueling stations in Orange County.

"Toyota is joining us in taking the lead toward cleaner, environmentally friendly transportation," said Scott Samuelsen, UCI professor of mechanical engineering and NFCRC director. "The fuel-cell car is a critically important step toward improving air quality for future generations, and we're looking forward to helping make its transition to the public."

The NFCRC and the UCI Institute of Transportation will work closely with infrastructure providers to monitor traffic flow and driver commuting habits and determine the best locations for future refueling stations. Drivers will be able to locate hydrogen-refueling stations using on-board information technology and be advised if refueling stations are not functioning. In the future, the information technology will provide the price of fuel from competing stations.

The Toyota FCHV, based on the Highlander mid-sized SUV model, generates electricity by splitting hydrogen molecules, producing only water vapor emissions. Needing only hydrogen for fuel, the vehicle is expected to offer performance similar to conventional gas- powered vehicles.

Toyota revealed its new fuel-cell vehicle at an event today at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, adjacent to the UCI campus.

The National Fuel Cell Research Center
The mission of the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) is to facilitate the genesis and deployment of fuel-cell technology by providing leadership within a vigorous program of research, development and demonstration. As a nonprofit site for the objective evaluation and improvement of industrial products, the NFCRC provides the public and the market access to the operating principles and performance of this revolutionary technology. It supports industrial research and development, and works in partnership with state, regional, and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the California Energy Commission. For more information:

The Institute of Transportation Studies
The Institute for Transportation Studies (ITS) is a University of California-organized research unit with branches on the Irvine, Davis and Berkeley campuses. It was established to foster research, education and training in the field of transportation. A fundamental goal of the institute is the stimulation of interdisciplinary research on contemporary transportation issues. ITS research at UCI involves faculty and students from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, the School of Social Ecology, the Graduate School of Management and the Department of Information and Computer Science. For more information: