As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle: What You Need to Know

As the automotive industry continues to evolve, so does the landscape of fuel alternatives.  

Although the market was traditionally dominated (if not monopolised) by petroleum and diesel engines, the recent rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles is reshaping the way we think about transportation. 

Today, there are many potential ways of fuelling a vehicle, such as: 

One fascinating addition to this list is the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle, or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), a fast-growing option in the eco-friendly automotive market. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, exploring what makes them unique, how they work, and why they’re quickly increasing in popularity both in Australia and abroad.  

So, if you’re considering making the switch to a hydrogen-powered vehicle, this is your guide to everything you need to know. 

How do Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Work? 

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. 

When it comes to Fuel Cell Vehicles, hydrogen serves as a clean source of energy to power electric vehicle motors. Unlike traditional petroleum-powered cars that rely on internal combustion engines and emit damaging greenhouse gasses as a result, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles use a chemical process that involves combining hydrogen with oxygen to create an electric current that powers the vehicle’s electric motor. 

Why Use Hydrogen Power fuel in cars? 

The appeal of hydrogen as a fuel source for vehicles lies in the fact that it is a green and renewable alternative to traditional fuel sources.  

When hydrogen reacts with oxygen in a fuel cell to create electricity, the only by-products of this process are water vapour and heat, making it a zero-emission energy carrier, similar to Electric Vehicles (EVs). 

This stands in stark contrast to traditional fossil fuel vehicles, which release greenhouse gases and contribute to air pollution in the short term as well as significant environmental damage over the long term. As the minds of Australians shift toward a more sustainable mindset, hydrogen is an attractive alternative for reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector. 

How Do Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Compare against Battery-Electric Vehicles? 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCEVs) are very similar to Battery-Electric Vehicles (EVs), though, there are some notable differences to be aware of. 

While both Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles and Battery-Electric Vehicles aim to reduce reliance on traditional fossil fuels by using electricity as a fuel source, they differ on four key variables: 

  • their energy storage, 
  • their delivery mechanisms, 
  • their refuelling times, and 
  • their energy density. 

On one hand, Battery-Electric Vehicles store electricity in onboard batteries, which are then used to power electric motors. On the other hand, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles generate electricity on demand through the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the fuel cell. 

The other key distinction lies in the refuelling times of each alternative.  

In short, Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles generally offer a faster refuelling experience when compared to Battery-Electric Vehicles as their battery typically requires a longer charging time.  

Additionally, hydrogen has a higher energy density than battery alternatives which allows for more extended driving ranges.  

While on the face of it, it may seem as though Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles are a superior choice, it’s also worth remembering that the infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling in Australia is currently less widespread than it is for electric charging stations. 

What is the Range of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles? 

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are known for their impressive range when compared to other non-petroleum energy alternatives.  

The range of Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles can vary depending on the make, model and type of care, as well as how it is driven, however, many models can travel over 600 kilometres in a single trip. 

For reference, the average range of a Battery-Electric Vehicle is between 300 and 500 kilometres, making Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles the perfect choice for eco-friendly consumers who enjoy their road trips. 

How Do You Refuel Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles? 

Although the infrastructure is currently lacking in Australia, refuelling a hydrogen-powered vehicle is a straightforward process. Much like traditional petroleum stations, hydrogen refuelling stations allow drivers to replenish their hydrogen tanks quickly and efficiently. 

The refuelling process generally takes just a few minutes and so offers a level of convenience that is comparable to refuelling a traditional petroleum vehicle. While compared to electric charging infrastructure, the number of hydrogen refuelling stations is currently limited, efforts are underway to expand the current infrastructure network to make Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles more accessible to all Australians.

Find the right Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle at the right price with Private Fleet 

Private Fleet empowers you to gain all the benefits of a fleet purchase but as a private buyer – and get advice on the latest Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle incentives!  

Backed by decades of vehicle industry experience, fleet buying power and a network of car dealers across Australia, we are here to ensure that buying your next Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCEV) will be as straightforward as possible for you. 

Shopping for a car is an enjoyable process – let us make it hassle-free, too. 

Reach out to us today for a seamless and simple car-buying experience.