Fueling a hydrogen FCV is similar to refilling a gas tank. Simply connect a nozzle to a designated hydrogen dispenser at a public station and fill the tank. FCEVs are charged with compressed hydrogen gas. The fuel cell doesn't burn the gas, but instead draws hydrogen from an onboard tank and chemically fuses it with oxygen to produce water.
This process releases electricity that will continue to power the car's electric motor as long as there is hydrogen in the tank. The only waste produced is pure water. Find hydrogen service stations in the United States and Canada. For Canadian stations in French, see Natural Resources Canada.
In California, the debate continues as to whether the subsidies offered by the state to boost the fuel cell market have amortized investment, judging by the limited use of service stations and the lack of profits. According to the National Fire Protection Association, alternative fuel vehicles, a category that includes both hydrogen fuel cells and battery-powered electric vehicles, are no more dangerous than traditional internal combustion engines. An added advantage is that most fuel cell car manufacturers include three years of free fuel in the vehicle. Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) combine hydrogen stored in a tank with oxygen in the air to produce electricity, with water vapor as a by-product.
This is possible thanks to sophisticated fuel cell technology that can be applied to electric vehicles that use compressed hydrogen gas. Unlike most common battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles don't need to be plugged in, and all current models exceed 300 miles of range with a full tank of fuel. Most hydrogen stations have two different refueling nozzles, one that provides 35 megapascals (MPa) of fuel and another that provides 70 MPa of fuel. Most hydrogen filling stations are located at existing service stations and use dispensers that look very similar but have a different nozzle and hose.
Since fuel cells are much more efficient than gasoline engines, total greenhouse gas emissions are much lower (at least half) regardless of the hydrogen production method used. There are dozens of fuel cell buses in use or planned in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as in California. While renewable sources of hydrogen, such as agricultural and waste sites, are increasing, most of the hydrogen obtained as fuel comes from traditional natural gas extraction. Leasing has been a popular choice among consumers for electric cars with fuel cells and batteries because the technology is new and early adopters don't want to be tied to a current model for a long time as technology advances and efficiency improves.
Ford has experimented with fuel cell variants of its Focus and Fusion cars, as well as with the Edge crossover, but doesn't offer any of those vehicles for sale. Honda and Toyota have partnered with a subsidiary of Shell Oil to build new hydrogen service stations in California. Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly fuels for powering cars, called fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).