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About fuel cell electric vehicles

Fuel cell electric vehicles are electric vehicles powered by hydrogen. FCEVs offer performance, range and refill time similar to combustion vehicles, and the quiet operation, zero emissions and power characteristic of battery electric vehicles. FCEVs are the best of both worlds.

Major automakers are deploying FCEVs and transit agencies are operating fuel cell buses in California and around the world.

Power and performance

Because they use an electric motor like other electric vehicles, FCEVs have maximum torque at zero MPH [Read more about torque]. FCEVs accelerate quickly and easily cruise at highway speeds. Their MPG equivalent is impressive—two to three times as many miles as their combustion counterparts. The driving range is also similar to combustion vehicles, 230-400 miles depending upon the vehicle’s tank capacity.

Inside the vehicle

Inside, fuel cell electric vehicles are as spacious and comfortable as any other vehicle. They have room for four-to-five passengers and plenty of cargo space. The controls are all familiar, although the dashboard gauge displays kilowatts instead of RPMs. Many FCEV drivers or passengers remark how quiet their car or bus runs.

Safety is a priority

Automakers conduct extensive safety testing with destructive and non-destructive evaluations at the component, system and vehicle level. FCEVs have several safety systems designed for hydrogen and electric drive to protect passengers and first responders in case of an accident. FCEVs have been in real-world accidents and all performed as designed. [Read more about safety]

Cost and availability

Beginning in 2015, major automakers will introduce fuel cell electric vehicles to the commercial market in California and other parts of the world, most likely in Germany, Japan, Korea and the Scandinavian countries. Sales prices for these FCEVs have not been announced. Two automakers currently lease vehicles in Southern California and others are in fleet programs. In addition, three transit agencies across the state operate fuel cell electric buses. [Learn more]

Environmental and energy benefits

Electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, like other advanced technology vehicles, will help us achieve energy and environment goals, including reductions in pollution and emissions that contribute to climate change as well as energy independence and security.

Learn about the performance, power, range and benefits of fuel cell electric vehicles