The new High Temperature Fuel Cell (HTFC) uses layers of carbon fiber cloth to insulate the cell membrane, allowing operating temperatures as high as 120 degrees Celsius (248 Fahrenheit). Fuel cell prototypes that don't utilize the carbon fiber insulation are restricted to temperatures of 80 degrees Celsius (176 Fahrenheit). The higher heat allows for a more effiecient fuel cell.
Better insulation also means that VW's new fuel cell requires a smaller cooling system, in turn allowing the company to implement the HTFC in a wide range of vehicles, from subcompacts to small trucks. Unfortunately for ecogeeks chomping at the bit to hop into a HTFC Rabbit, Volkswagen says the technology won't be considered for production until 2020.
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