The Japanese government has approved the use of Suzuki’s advanced SX4-FCV fuel cell vehicle on public roads.
Japan’s ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism gave the approval to allow testing of the SX4-FCV in real-world conditions.
The state-of-the-art vehicle is based on Suzuki’s SX4, which went on sale in South Africa in June. It is powered by a high-performance fuel cell sourced from General Motors.
Hydrogen for the fuel cell is stored in a sophisticated 70 MPa tank developed by Suzuki, while a lightweight, compact capacitor captures regenerative energy under braking, which is then employed to reduce fuel cell load under acceleration.
The SX4-FCV has a fuel cell output of 80 kW and an electric motor output of 68 kW. Maximum speed is 150 km/h, while the vehicle has an operating range of 250 km.
The results of the SX4-FCV road testing programme will be used for the further development of the vehicle, with the ultimate aim of producing a viable fuel cell-based production model.
Suzuki has been engaged in a research and development programme focussed on fuel cell vehicles since 2001, in partnership with US automotive giant General Motors. The SX4-FCV is its fourth compact fuel cell vehicle to be evaluated on Japan’s public roads.
In October 2003, Suzuki conducted a testing programme employing fuel cell-powered versions of the MR Wagon and the Wagon R, while the Wagon R-FCV underwent further evaluation in December 2004.