As the automotive industry moves away from petrol and diesel it can be easy to think that electric vehicles (EVs) are the only alternatives. But that’s not the case, there is another fuel source that may be a viable alternative – hydrogen.

What is a Hydrogen Powered Car?

A hydrogen powered car uses hydrogen to create electricity to power the vehicle’s battery, which in turn powers the electric motors for you to drive the car. 

It is a little similar to an internal combustion engine (ICE) in that there is a hydrogen tank (or tanks depending on the model) that you will regularly need to fill up to keep the car going. However, this is used to power an electric motor system similar to that in an EV.

How Do Hydrogen Cars Work?

A hydrogen powered vehicle uses a fuel cell stack to produce electricity instantly which then powers the electric battery and motor system in the vehicle.

Hydrogen is stored in tanks in the vehicle and when you turn the car on you are essentially switching on the ignition which starts the process of a hydrogen and oxygen chemical reaction in order to create electricity. This will then allow you to drive the car as you would any other vehicle.

The only by-product of the chemical reaction that takes place is water. This leaves the vehicle in the form of water vapour from an exhaust, similar to the way the emissions leave an ICE powered car.

hydrogen fuel tanks in toyota mirai

Are There Any Hydrogen Cars Available in the UK?

There are currently only two hydrogen fuelled models available in the UK which are the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai Nexo

hyundai nexo and toyota mirai

The Toyota Mirai is a sleek and stylish saloon car that offers drivers a range of over just over 400 miles according to WLTP testing.

While the Hyundai Nexo is a stylish SUV with cutting-edge technology not just in terms of its fuel source but also comfort and safety features.

We have lease deals available on both of these models if you’re interested in a hydrogen powered car for your next vehicle!

What are the Benefits of Hydrogen Cars?

There are many benefits of hydrogen cars including:

  • Zero pollutant emissions at the point of use
  • Fast refuelling (under five minutes from start to finish)
  • Long distance ranges compared to standard EVs

What are the Drawbacks of Hydrogen Cars?

The main drawback of a hydrogen car is refuelling it. As it’s not as popular as petrol, diesel or electric there are fewer locations in the UK where you can refuel your vehicle so one of the things that you really need to consider when deciding if a hydrogen car is the right choice for you is knowing where you can refuel in the local area.

Where Can I Get Hydrogen Fuel?

Hydrogen fuel needs to be supplied by an authorised supplier and there are only a few locations in the UK that can supply it. These are generally traditional fuel stations that have an additional special pump for the hydrogen.

You can find a full list and map of locations in the UK here

Why Isn’t Hydrogen More Popular?

There are a few reasons why hydrogen powered cars aren’t more widespread at the minute. For one a lot of the technology is still in development, there are a lot of different hydrogen fuel cells available at the moment and these systems are still being worked on to create a product that can have widespread success.

While the technology in the vehicle is being developed and improved there aren’t a lot of hydrogen cars on the road, and this has two major impacts. Firstly, fewer people are aware of them as a clean alternative to traditional fuels. And secondly, as there aren’t that many hydrogen fuelled drivers there hasn’t been the investment in hydrogen fuel infrastructure. This means that there aren’t as many locations that you can fuel a hydrogen car at, and unlike an EV it’s not something you can do at home.

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