Still not entirely certain how fuel cell cars work? Here’s a concise explanation of the science involved:
The electric motor contained within the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is powered by hydrogen gas. The hydrogen is fused, through a chemical reaction, with oxygen to produce water, which in turn produces electricity. This electricity powers the motor, which drives the vehicle. This process of producing electricity from hydrogen gas creates only heat and water as byproducts – unlike the burning of fossil fuels, which produces toxic byproducts. The fuel cell utilizes a chemical process that doesn’t involve burning anything whatsoever.
The only pollution generated by fuel cell vehicles is if the the source of hydrogen is innately polluting. Worst case scenario, even utilizing natural gas as a hydrogen source creates far less pollution than that of internal combustion engines.
Technically, due to the fact that they are powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also considered electric vehicles. Electric vehicles, however, lack the power-to-driving range ratio that HFCV have. That, in addition to the fact that hydrogen fuel is a liquid, make HFCV comparable less so to electric vehicles and more so to internal combustion engine vehicles.