Toyota has announced what it claims is a major breakthrough in fuel cell technology, with a new prototype that is capable of more than doubling the range of previous fuel cell vehicles.The Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle – Advanced (or FCHV-Adv) has a range of 510miles on a single 156-litre tank of Hydrogen – the company’s previous-generation FCHV could only extract 205miles from its 148-litre tank. More important, from the point of view of corporate honour, the FCHV-Adv has double the claim range of the Honda FCX Clarity.The dramatic extension in range has been achieved by improving the performance of the fuel cell, improving regenerative braking which feeds a battery-hybrid system and reducing the amount of power consumed by auxiliary systems. Changes to the fuel cell involved reducing the loss of efficiency caused by the generation of unwanted water, which has dramatically improved the FCHV-Adv’s cold-start abilities, and allows it to operate in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celcius. The news indicates that, independent of its leadership in the petrol hybrid sector, Toyota continues to take the development of a fuel-cell powered vehicle seriously. Only time will tell if it turns out to be a visionary re-invention of the car or a technological blind alley.