fuel cell hybrid vehicle

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Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle

A fuel cell hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors. Both a gas engine and an electric motor power a fuel cell hybrid vehicle. The energy used by the electric motors is stored in rechargeable batteries. Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, therefore no greenhouse gases are emitted. The electricity feeds a storage battery that powers the electric motor. The vehicle’s computer system chooses the best energy source to use at different times to maximize efficiency as well as provide satisfactory levels of safety and comfort.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy often list the fuel cell hybrid vehicle as one of the greenest vehicles. It doesn’t necessarily cost more than traditional fossil fuel powered models. Wear and tear is smaller and manufacturers sometimes provide higher mileage warranty. As the number of fuel cell hybrid vehicles on the road increase, maintenance and repair costs at dealer service centers are likely to go down.

Recent research carried out amongst senior automotive executives by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, found that the fuel cell hybrid vehicle is being given top priority amongst alternative fuel technologies (85 per cent), followed by battery electric power (68 percent), fuel cell electric power (63 percent), and biodiesel (42 percent). Consumer demand is forcing automakers to satisfy the growing preference for cleaner vehicles and hybrid fuel vehicles are spearheading the trend.

In June 2010, the city of London in the UK launched the Fuel Cell Black Cab, powered by an Intelligent Energy hydrogen fuel cell system hybridised with lithium polymer batteries. It allows the vehicle to operate for a full day without the need for refuelling. The clean version of the iconic black cab is capable of achieving a top speed of over 80 mph, it has a range of more than 250 miles on a full tank of hydrogen, refuels in about 5 minutes and produces no emissions other than water vapor. "The black cab is a much loved London icon, but it is also a significant source of pollution especially in the centre of the city. This prototype Fuel Cell Black Cab, which emits only water from its tailpipe, is an exciting glimpse of how hydrogen technology could soon play a vital role in cleaning up air quality for urban dwellers”, said London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Chair of the London Hydrogen Partnership, Kit Malthouse, who unveiled the zero emissions fuel cell hybrid taxi at London’s City Hall.