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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 for them to be competitive with conventional vehicles, but their potential benefits are substantial.

A Look Inside

FCVs look like conventional vehicles but use cutting edge technologies. The heart of the FCV is the fuel cell stack. The stack converts hydrogen gas stored onboard with oxygen from the air into electricity, which powers the vehicle's electric motor. The major components of a typical FCV are illustrated below.

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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 quietly, smoothly, and efficiently than an internal combustion engine and requires 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.

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