The alarming rates of environmental destruction demand ways of life that cause minimal damage to environment, inspiring many to shift to greener means of transportation. When compared with vehicles powered by combustion engines, electric vehicles have an upper hand, owing to the contributions they make for environmental conservation. If you take the list of best electric cars, fuel cell electric cars would definitely have their place in the list.
What Are Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles(FCEV)?
The propulsion system of FCEVs is similar to that of conventional electric vehicles where the fuel cell converts the energy stored in hydrogen to electricity. The fuel cell merely emits warm air and water vapor unlike the internal combustion engines that emit oxides of lead and carbon.
Like a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle stores fossil fuels in the tank, FCEV store hydrogen gas in a tank. The electric car range is beyond 300 miles and it takes not more than 5 minutes to fuel up.
To enhance the performance, FCEVs are equipped with advanced technologies like regenerative braking system that captures the energy lost during braking to store it in a battery.
Important Components Of FCEV
Before the traction battery starts working, the auxiliary battery provides electricity to start the car and powers vehicle accessories too.
The energy generated from regenerative braking system is stored in stored in the battery pack, which also provides supplemental power to the electric traction motor.
Fuel Cell Stack
Fuel cell stack is the assembly of membrane electrodes that produces electricity using hydrogen and oxygen.
Electric Traction Motor
This motor drives the wheels by using the power supplied by the fuel cell and traction battery pack.
Working Of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
The type of fuel cell used will vary according to the area of application and the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell is the most commonly used fuel cell in vehicles. In a PEM fuel cell, an electrolyte membrane is introduced between cathode and anode, and hydrogen is pumped in to the fuel cell through the anode end while oxygen is pumped in through the cathode end. The resulting electrochemical reaction breaks apart the hydrogen molecules into protons and neutrons. The protons travel through the membrane to the cathode end.
The electrons are made to travel through an external circuit to power the vehicle after which they recombine with the protons at the cathode end. At this end, the electrons and protons of hydrogen atoms combine with oxygen atoms to form water.
Fuel cell technology has high growth potential and choosing vehicles that run on fuel cells can make notable contributions to reducing individual carbon footprints.