A fuel cell vehicle (FCV) or fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is a type of vehicle which uses a fuel cell to power its onboard electric motor. This kind of car is a vehicle driven by electrical energy generated by the hydrogen fuel cell. It does not have a socket for recharging the battery. This term refers to an EV that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to power its electric motor. The fuel cells create electricity to power the car.

This type is an electric vehicle powered by electric energy generated using an onboard fuel cell. The fuel cell uses hydrogen stored in hydrogen tanks and oxygen from the air to create water and electricity. Water is discarded, but electricity is used for propulsion. Vehicle fuel cells generate electricity to power an electric motor, generally using oxygen from the air and hydrogen.

A fuel cell vehicle fueled with hydrogen emits only water and heat but no tailpipe pollutants; therefore, it is considered a Zero Emission Vehicle. However, producing the hydrogen in the vehicle creates impurities depending on the process.

Fuel cells have been used in various vehicles, including forklifts, especially in indoor applications where their clean emissions are essential to air quality and space applications. Commercial production fuel cell automobiles are currently being deployed in California by one auto manufacturer, with additional manufacturers expected to join in 2015. Furthermore, fuel cells are being developed and tested in buses, boats, motorcycles, and bicycles, among other vehicles.

As of early 2014, there is limited hydrogen infrastructure, with ten hydrogen fueling stations for automobiles publicly available in the U.S., but investments have been planned to build more hydrogen stations, particularly in California. New stations are also designed in Japan and Germany. Critics doubt whether hydrogen will be efficient or cost-effective for automobiles compared to other zero-emission technologies.

Similarly to Hybrid Electric Vehicle, there is a small traction battery. That battery is used to capture energy while slowing down, driving downhill, and also energy created by the fuel cell in advance. Fuel cells are not instantaneous – there is a significant delay between driver requests for acceleration and electricity generation – fuel cells must be blasted with hydrogen gas and fresh air to generate electricity. That delay is prevented by keeping some energy readily available in a battery, capacitor, or flywheel.

These vehicles do not have a socket. Therefore, they cannot be recharged from the grid. All energy originates from the fuel cell.

Example: Toyota Mirai

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