A control-oriented mathematical model of a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack is developed and experimentally verified. The model predicts the bulk fuel cell transient temperature and voltage as a function of the current drawn and the inlet coolant conditions. The model enables thermal control synthesis and optimization and can be used for estimating the transient system performance. Unlike other existing thermal models, it includes the gas supply system, which is assumed to be capable of controlling perfectly the air and hydrogen flows. The fuel cell voltage is calculated quasistatically. Measurement data of a , 24-cell fuel cell stack with an integrated membrane-type humidification section is used to identify the system parameters and to validate the performance of the simulation model. The predicted thermal response is verified during typical variations in load, coolant flow, and coolant temperature. A first-law control volume analysis is performed to separate the relevant from the negligible contributions to the thermal dynamics and to determine the sensitivity of the energy balance to sensor errors and system parameter deviations.