The increased integration of fuel cells with power electronics, critical loads, and control systems has prompted recent interest in accurate electrical terminal models of the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell. Advancement in computing technologies, particularly parallel computation techniques and various real-time simulation tools have allowed the prototyping of novel apparatus to be investigated in a virtual system under a wide range of realistic conditions repeatedly, safely, and economically. This paper builds upon both advancements and provides a means of optimized model construction boosting computation speeds for a fuel cell model on a real-time simulator which can be used in a power hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL) application. Significant improvement in computation time has been achieved. The effectiveness of the proposed model developed on Opal RT's RT-Lab Matlab/Simulink based real-time engineering simulator is verified using experimental results from a Ballard Nexa fuel cell system.