Aluminum was considered a good candidate material for bipolar plates of the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells due to its low cost, light weight, high strength and good manufacturability. But there were problems of both chemical and electrochemical corrosions in the PEM fuel cell operating environment. The major goals of this research are to find proper physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating materials which would enhance surface properties by making significant improvements on corrosion resistance and electrical conductivity at a reasonable cost. Several coating materials had been studied to analyze their corrosion resistance improvement. The corrosion rates of all materials were tested in a simulated fuel cell environment. The linear polarization curve of electrochemical method measured by potentiostat instrument was employed to determine the corrosion current. Results of the corrosion tests indicated that all of the coating materials had good corrosion resistance and were stable in the simulated fuel cell environment. The conductivities of the coated layers were better and the resistances changed very little after the corrosion test. At last, single fuel cells were made by each PVD coating material. Fuel cell tests were conducted to determine their performance w.r.t. that was made of graphite. The results of fuel cell tests indicated that metallic bipolar plates with PVD coating could be used in PEM fuel cells.