Running On Hydrogen: Fuel Cell Powered Cars Make A Comeback

Fuel Cell
The Honda FCV, seen at the SAE World Congress

Will hydrogen fuel cell powered cars finally become popular?

There is a Hollywood insult that you can’t stage a comeback if you weren’t ever a star. Hydrogen fuel cells were touted as the next big thing at the 2013 auto shows but never truly took off. Now, according to a New York Times article, they are trying again.

Toyota Mirai At Sae

Toyota Mirai at SAE World Congress. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Popular Mechanics described the simple mechanics behind hydrogen fuel cells: “hydrogen atoms are stripped of their electrons to generate electricity and then combined with oxygen to form water as a by-product.” Imagine that – liquid dripping from your car could be a good thing!

Fuel Cell

The 2015 Hyundai Tucson, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, can be leased in California. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Hydrogen powered cars are similar to battery electric vehicles, but they can run much further on a tank of hydrogen – and don’t require a huge battery pack or hours to recharge.

In California, you can lease a Hyundai Tucson crossover powered by hydrogen – and get a lot of incentives. At the New York Auto Show, Toyota showed off its Mirai fuel cell car, which will be sold later this year, exclusively in California; at the 2015 Detroit auto show, Honda showed a hydrogen powered car it plans for 2016 – but sold only in Japan.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell