Hydrogen Cars of 2021

Hydrogen cars deserve much more recognition than they get at present. The concept of using the most abundant resource in the world to power a vehicle that produces no emissions and has a much less harmful effect on the environment overall, should be much more highly valued. While the automotive industry is moving towards all-electric vehicles due to the spotlight on eco-friendly power sources, hydrogen power isn’t getting quite as much attention. Sadly that means that hydrogen fuel cell cars are expensive and very limited in number at present, with only three automakers offering a single option within their ranges.

List of Hydrogen Vehicles

This list of hydrogen cars make it onto our rankings:

BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2021 Toyota Mirai
8.8
BuzzScore
9
Design
7
Performance
10
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
10
Reliability
9
Safety
7
Value
#2
2021 Hyundai Nexo
8.1
BuzzScore
8
Design
8
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
7
Reliability
9
Safety
7
Value
#3
2021 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
6.6
BuzzScore
4
Design
5
Performance
10
MPG
7
Interior
7
Infotainment
8
Reliability
7
Safety
5
Value

Specifications of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

What sets hydrogen vehicles apart from gas-engined vehicles is the following:

  • Power- and Drivetrain: Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have a unique power source - the Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell. It comprises a large number of cells that convert hydrogen and oxygen that’s stored in specialized tanks into electricity that then powers an AC electric motor. A single-speed automatic transmission is typically utilized and there are front-wheel and all-wheel drive options available.
  • Performance: As with regular EV’s, FCEVs benefit from instantaneous off-the-line acceleration by virtue of their electrified powertrains that send all their torque to the wheels at once. From there, FCEVs are actually rather sedate. With that said, future fuel cell vehicles will look different, with even supercars that are hydrogen-powered in the cards.
  • Features: The average price of most hydrogen cars is quite high. Because automakers have to sell their FCEVs at such high prices, they typically sell them as standalone trims that are fully specced with the creature comforts, conveniences, and all the tech that is often optional on other models. Many have advanced virtual driver displays and large infotainment touch screens that add to the futuristic aesthetic they tend to carry.

What to Consider Before Buying FCEVs

Currently, there are only a few hydrogen-powered cars available in the USA. If you’re considering buying one, have a look at these pros and cons first; these are the things you should know before buying a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly and emissions-free performance
  • Good driving range and fuel economy
  • Quick and convenient refueling times
  • FCEVs carry some exclusivity and uniqueness
  • They’re typically given extensive warranties

Cons

  • Pricing is high
  • Available mainly in California currently
  • Hydrogen refueling network is severely limited

FAQs About Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

Is it easy to find a hydrogen refueling station in America?

Currently, the list of publicly available hydrogen stations is fairly limited, with the majority of these in the state of California.

Why are hydrogen fuel cell cars so expensive?

Because FCEVs are sold in such low volumes, manufacturers have to sell them at a high price to make up for the cost of their production, which hasn’t been industrialized yet. The technology required here also relies on precious metals like platinum, which is used as a catalyst and is expensive to acquire. Hydrogen vehicles are available to lease, and you may qualify for incentives.

Will FCEVs become more accessible?

A lot needs to happen for FCEVs to become more affordable in the future. As innovation progresses within the FCEV space, in regards to making the powertrain components easier and cheaper to manufacture, FCEVs will subsequently become cheaper to produce and hence more affordable to buy. Demand for FCEVs and hydrogen fuel will also have to increase in the USA.

Are FCEVs safe to drive?

Yes, FCEVs are just as safe and reliable as regular cars. Not only does the absence of a flammable diesel or gas mean that they could actually be even safer than regular cars, as hydrogen vapor doesn’t pool, but their hydrogen tanks are so strong that they could even repel a bullet shot from close range.

Which manufacturers offer a hydrogen fuel cell car in the USA?

At present, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai have the Mirai, Clarity, and Nexo models available, respectively. The first two are sedans, while the Nexo is a crossover with a modern aesthetic. Some carmakers are investing in the technology, however, and hydrogen startup company Hyperion has unveiled a supercar called the XP-1 that runs on hydrogen power.
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