When it comes to an environmentally friendly car, most people think about battery powered electric vehicles. However, there is one propulsion technology that might catch up – hydrogen fuel cells. CarSwitch.com, an online marketplace to sell any car in Abu Dhabi did some research to share the details with you.
How does an FCEV work?
Cars based on a hydrogen engine are also called fuel cell electric vehicles, or FCEV. Hydrogen fuel cell cars are underpinned by an electric motor. Unlike electric vehicles, hydrogen ones produce electricity on their own. So, the car does not get its power from an embedded battery that depends on an external power source for replenishment. They instead have the fuel cell, which is kind of like an onboard efficient power plant.
A process called reverse electrolysis happens in which hydrogen reacts with oxygen. The outcomes are electrical energy, heat, and water. Water is emitted as water vapor through the exhaust. So, hydrogen-fueled vehicles are locally emission-free. The electricity produced either gets to the electric motor or it charges the traction battery. Hydrogen vehicles can also recover brake energy. The electric motor transforms the kinetic energy back into electrical energy and directs it to the back-up battery.
Advantages Of Hydrogen Cars
- The propulsion engine is purely electrical and it makes no engine noise.
- Unlike fully electric vehicles that need between 30 minutes to several hours for battery top-up, hydrogen tanks of fuel cell vehicles are full again in under five minutes. This is great from an accessibility and flexibility point of view.
- Currently, hydrogen vehicles offer a longer range when compared to purely electric cars. A hydrogen tank can last nearly 300 miles and to match that, battery-fueled cars will need bigger cells, and this will result in an increase in charging time and vehicle weight.
- The range of hydrogen cars does not depend on the outside temperature and does not deteriorate in cold weather.
- Hydrogen is a by-product of various industrial processes and is treated as a waste often. The fuel cell battery can upcycle this hydrogen, provided it’s cleaned first.
Disadvantages Of Hydrogen Cars
- Refueling options are currently limited. A hydrogen engine currently needs special fuel pumps. In the future, ordinary stations will probably provide the service too. The current scenario can limit demand, which in turn can limit profitable mass production and expansion of the refueling station network.
- The losses during electrolysis are also a con of producing hydrogen and “power to vehicle drive” energy chain efficiency is half that of a BEV. However, there is an oversupply of electricity generated from renewable sources and thus there is a huge potential here.
- Hydrogen fuel cell technology is locally emission-free. However, carbon footprint will not be neutral if fossil fuels are used to produce hydrogen.
Cost of Hydrogen-powered Cars
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are currently very expensive. The models available on the market cost nearly $80,000 for mid-range specs. That’s nearly double the price of fully electric or hybrid vehicles.
Currently, the operating costs are also higher when compared to battery-powered vehicles. If the fuel-cell car scales and the infrastructure continues to grow, EVs can have serious competition.
You can learn more about how hydrogen fuel cell cars work by clicking here. You can also check out these 4 fuel-efficient cars that are perfect for driving to work!