Polymer electrolyte fuel cell stacks assembled with Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and SolviCore MEAs based on the Aquivion™ E79-03S short-side chain (SSC), chemically stabilised perfluorosulphonic acid membrane developed by Solvay Solexis were investigated at CNR-ITAE in the EU Sixth Framework ‘Autobrane' project. Electrochemical experiments in fuel cell short stacks were performed under practical automotive operating conditions at pressures of 1–1.5 bar abs. over a wide temperature range, up to 130 °C, with varying levels of humidity (down to 18% R. H.). The stacks using large area (360 cm2) MEAs showed elevated performance in the temperature range from ambient to 100 °C (cell power density in the range of 600–700 mWcm–2) with a moderate decrease above 100 °C. The performances and electrical efficiencies achieved at 110 °C (cell power density of about 400 mWcm–2 at an average cell voltage of about 0.5–0.6 V) are promising for automotive applications. Duty-cycle and steady-state galvanostatic experiments showed excellent stack stability for operation at high temperature. A performance comparison of AquivionTM and NafionTM-based MEAs under practical operating conditions showed a significantly better capability for the Solvay Solexis membrane to sustain high temperature operation.