With the new cars being powered with hydrogen fuel cells, we are only a year away from what was once a dream of the future. Leading the race in manufacturing fuel cell powered cars; Toyota is ahead although General Motors, Hyundai and Honda are not that far away. A Fuel Cell car (FCVs) has the potential and ability to significantly minimize the dependence on foreign crude oil and has lower harmful emissions which are one of the contributors to the ever changing climate. FCVs only run on hydrogen gas rather than the gasoline. FCVs practically emit no tailpipe emissions which are harmful to the environment and its by-product is almost only water. As per Wade Hoyt, Toyota spokesman, during a CBSNews.com interview, "We see fuel cells as the ultimate answer (down the road) to zero-emission vehicles. By 2020, we're going to have fuel cells as an important part of our portfolio".
Fuel Cells and how they Work
A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from fuels into electricity by means of a chemical reaction with an oxidizing agent or oxygen. Hydrogen is the most commonly used fuel, but hydrocarbons such as alcohol like methanol or natural gas are sometimes used. The electricity produced is what drives the electric to propel the automobile. The hydrogen gas is stored in hydrogen storage stacks which are compressed at very high pressure to maximize the driving range. The electric motor is propelled, to make it run more smoothly, efficiently and more quietly than the old internal combustion car. And it seldom requires maintenance.
With some of the prototypes, a battery with a high output is where energy is stored and is generated from regenerative braking, providing a much supplemental power to its electric motor.
Thomas Bosco, the Port Authority's interim director of aviation said, "The vehicle is extremely quiet, that takes some getting used to". According to CBSNews.com, "The vehicle barely made a noise. I kept pace with gas powered cars and the acceleration was better than the expected in comparison to four cylinder engines".
About 400 miles is the range of the fuel cell cars, almost equivalent with the gas powered cars and nearly twice the range of the current electric cars. Making a standard equipment and range with models and makes will surely be not easy.