Hydrogen fuel cell cars in the fast lane

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This week, CNN reported that the battery-powered vehicle is soon to be overtaken by its clean tech counterpart, the hydrogen fuel cell car.

In recent months, a number of carmakers have bolstered their commitment to develop a commercially available fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). Nissan has announced the TeRRA concept, a hydrogen fuel cell powered SUV; Mercedes is planning its fuel cell debut for 2014 with the B-Class F-CELL compact; Toyota and Hyundai have revealed they will release their fuel cell cars in 2015 with the FCV-R and ix35 respectively.  

The advantage of fuel cell cars is shorter fuelling times and greater range. A battery-powered car will tend to have a limited real-world range and can take up to several hours to charge on a home-charging station. In contrast a fuel cell car be driven for hundreds of miles and refuelled at the pump – much like conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

In a survey of carmaker executives conducted by KPMG, respondents expected that among electric vehicles, hybrids will have the highest customer demand by 2025, followed by FCEVs, outdoing the demand of battery-powered cars.

The Carbon Trust’s report on the fuel cell industry echoes this trend, stating that a continued focus on technology innovation could make fuel cell cars cost competitive with internal combustion engine, forming a third of all vehicles on the road by 2050.

Whatever the growth in consumer demand might be, the commercial viability of FCEVs make them a compelling prospect.

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