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Fuel Cell Vehicles

Photo showing a silver four-door sedan being driven on a roadway and containing the words "hydrogen fuel cell electric" across the front and rear doors.

This prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle was displayed at a recent conference of the National Hydrogen Association.
Credit: Keith Wipke

Researchers are developing fuel cells that can be used in vehicles to provide electricity for propulsion as well as for a car's electric and electronic equipment. Because they emit only heat and water vapor, these vehicles have the potential to provide pollution-free transportation as well as to reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil.

Consumers cannot yet purchase these vehicles, however, because they are expensive to build. So, researchers in government and in industry are working hard to make them more affordable.

Fuel cell vehicles usually run on gaseous hydrogen fuel stored in onboard fuel tanks. Inside the vehicle's fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen combine to produce electricity. The electricity is then stored in a battery that powers the vehicle's electric motor and other electric-powered equipment.

Learn more about hydrogen fuel cells.