Petrol price: $1.83/litre, Diesel Price: $0.642/litre. A car gives an average mileage of 14 to 23 km/litre ( obviously not a super car or a luxury car).An average man with a car travels 20000km per year. Hence the expense of fuel in a year stands to $ 2,614 (Rs. 1,98,700) or above and the price is expected to go only in the upward direction.

So If we think, in a way, the petrol or diesel cars we use for our own benefits, suck up $2500 per year and make the oil merchants rich as more than we could ever imagine. But that’s not the problem.The average Carbon di Oxide emission by vehicles is a mind boggling 4.6 metric tons, that also per year and hence tend to destroy the air quality we breathe more than that we can imagine and this is the big problem.

Hydrogen Car

Now imagine, if any person developed a technology, that could replace oil and take over some part of this huge fuel market, a billionaire or may be a trillionaire before he exits the earth. Ya, now most of you would think of Elon Musk and ‘TESLA’ of being that change, its true that they have the potential. But what if there was some other way. A way we have already seen in tv shows in America or in any science friction movie.

In some science friction shows they projected the idea of a car running on water, felt so mesmerizing those days as basic education stated that 1/3rd of our earth is water. The only difference today is, they have become real.


Today the technological advancement has taken us in an era, where cars are fuelled by hydrogen and if you don’t know, Japanese car manufacturers Toyota and Honda, and South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai are three major car companies which has successfully developed a hydrogen fuelled car with car models named-

Toyota-with its Mirai

Honda –with its Clarity

Hyundai –with its Nexo

What are Hydrogen Fuelled cars?

‘Hydrogen cars’ is not the actual name but ‘FCEV’ which stands for ‘Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle’. The name suggests two things,

  • The car powers itself via Fuel cells.
  • The car is actually an Electric Vehicle.

A FCEV or Hydrogen car is a car which takes power from the chemical reaction of hydrogen with oxygen, in present of a catalyst (a substance which helps in performing the chemical reaction) such as Platinum. This chemical reaction produces energy, that in turn helps in running of an electric motor or a number of motors (depending on the ‘Drive System’) which is responsible for the spinning of wheels of the car, hence the car moves forward.  

Components of a Hydrogen car:

Hydrogen Tank: This is the tank in the car where the liquefied Hydrogen from fuel stations are stored.

Oxygen Inlet: This inlet allows Oxygen from the outer environment to enter the fuel cells of the car where the energy is produced through chemical reaction.  

Fuel Cell: It is the heart of a hydrogen car which consists of an Anode, Cathode and Electrolytic Membrane. It is where the energy on which the car runs is produced. The detailed working of a fuel cell is described below.

Electric Motor: Just like electric cars, the electric motor or motors drive the wheels, taking the energy from the chemical reaction.

The motor is a battery operated motor for now but there is a huge chance that this technique will change in the near future, building more powerful hydrogen cars that can compete a Tesla.

The Whole Process of Working:

The whole working works on Basic Science. You must know the following, before you understand the working process.

  • A fuel cell consists of an Anode (Positive Terminal), a Cathode (a negative terminal) and an Electrolytic membrane sandwiched between the two terminals.
  • As one fuel cell produces insufficient energy to run the car, a number of fuel cells are used which together produce the required energy and are known as fuel cell stack.
  • The electric motor is placed in parallel near the fuel cell stack with one terminal towards the anode and another towards the cathode.
  • The anode side is supplied with Hydrogen and the cathode side is supplied with oxygen from the atmosphere.

Now the working can be explained as

  • The hydrogen molecules consists of protons and electrons that make up one hydrogen atom.
  •  When hydrogen is supplied through the anode, the protons pass through the electrolytic membrane, as protons with positive charge is attracted to the cathode with negative charge but the electrons cannot.
  • Hence they choose another path to flow and reach the protons at the cathode side, that is through the motor, which in turn runs the motor.

The flow of electrons is actually the current through the motor.

  • The electrons reach the cathode side and mix with the protons to create a hydrogen atom again.
  • Now, the oxygen from the atmosphere is pumped in to mix with the hydrogen to form water as by-product of the whole process just like smoke from combustion vehicles, as we know water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen with a chemical name ‘H2O’.

Why can it be a game changer in the future?

  • Because it does not pollute the environment at all.
  • Because Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements in planet earth.

Does the whole process have any fact to be disliked?

Yes it does. All Hydrogen molecules in nature or around us is present in combination with other elements such oxygen, carbon etc. It can be used as fuel only if it can be separated from the other element. Now taking the example of water or H2O, the hydrogen has to be separated from the oxygen but it can happen only with the help of an ‘Electrolyser’.

So, if we just want to put water as a fuel to run the car, we have to install an Electrolyser inside the vehicle that can break the water molecules into hydrogen molecules.

Does it have any upper side compared to a ‘Grade A’ electric car like Tesla?

Yes it does. Just this that the hydrogen fuel tank fills within 5 minutes compared to 12 hours of charge for a Tesla. The rests are just downsides.

Why does Elon Musk troll or make fun of FCEVs? Are FCEVs really a technological achievement?

First fill the tank with water. The Electrolyser will break it down to form Hydrogen. This hydrogen goes to the fuel cells to react and create electricity to run a motor The electrons and protons mix up to form hydrogen atom, then mixes up with oxygen to form water as by-product.

In this whole process, the ratio of the ‘amount of output to amount of input’ or the ‘Efficiency’ is very low even if hydrogen is taken directly as fuel. And this is a very long process to run a motor. This is why Elon Musk does not like it. Tesla cars take charge as Input and use this charge to run a motor which can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 1.9 seconds. It is an easy and direct process if the intension is to ‘run a motor’ as compared to the FCEVs whose intension is the same but the process is a bit complex.

If you are reading this, Now you know everything there is to be known about a FCEV or a Hydrogen car.

The problem faced by Hydrogen cars today is because a lot of people don’t want to invest in it, and hence there is less scope of research and technological development. One of the main reason for this is that the idea behind FCEVs are a bit inefficient.

At first nobody belived the capabilities of Electric Cars too, but Tesla stepped in, and made history. In the near future, we expect somebody with basic knowledge of science to rise up as the ‘ELON MUSK of FCEVs’ and change this technology forever too.  It can even be someone reading this blog so all the best from our side.

Ok Now You Have Idea Of Hydrogen Car, So Do You Wanna How Electric Car Works
Click The Image & Check Out This Article

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