Skip to main content

Fuel Cell Vehicles

Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) have the potential to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. FCVs run on hydrogen gas rather than gasoline and emit no harmful tailpipe emissions. Several challenges must be overcome before these vehicles will be competitive with conventional vehicles, but the potential benefits of this technology are substantial.

A Look Inside

FCVs look like conventional vehicles from the outside, but inside they contain technologically advanced components not found on today's vehicles. The most obvious difference is the fuel cell stack that converts hydrogen gas stored onboard with oxygen from the air into electricity to drive the electric motor that propels the vehicle. The major components of a typical FCV are illustrated below.

Click on a box to read more.

Fuel cell vehicle components: Power Control Unit - Governs the flow of electricity; Hydrogen Storage Tank - Stores hydrogen gas compressed at extremely high pressure to increase driving range; Electric Motor - Propels the vehicle much more quietyly, smoothly, and efficiently than an internal combustion engine and require less maintenance; Fuel Cell Stack - Converts hydrogen gas and oxygen into electricity to power the electric motor; High-Output Battery - Stores energy generated from regenerative braking and provides supplemental power to the electric motor Power Control Unit Electric Motor Fuel Cell Stack High-Output Battery Hydrogen Storage Tank Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Corp.