Here's Why Hydrogen Cars Are Suddenly a Big Deal

Toyota's FCV Concept is a preview of the company's first fuel-cell car, expected to arrive at dealers in 2015. Photo credit: Toyota

What's the deal with hydrogen cars?

"Hydrogen cars" are vehicles powered by fuel cells. Fuel cells chemically convert the energy in hydrogen to electricity. A fuel cell -- plus a tank of hydrogen -- can replace a big bulky battery packs in an electric car.

Toyota  (NYSE: TM  ) , Honda  (NYSE: HMC  ) , and Hyundai  (NASDAQOTH: HYMTF  ) all showed off new fuel-cell vehicles earlier this month -- and they, along with several other big names, have promised to put them into production over the next few years. 

Why does it seem that automakers are suddenly pushing fuel cells instead of battery-electric cars? In this video, Fool contributor John Rosevear looks as the advantages (and disadvantages) of fuel cells as compared to batteries, and explains what will have to happen before American drivers can move to a hydrogen-powered future.

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  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 12:57 PM, willywolfe wrote:

    Natural gas vehicles will take hold, hydrogen will not. Where do you get hydrogen today? You burn natural gas to produce electricity and then produce hydrogen with electricity. If you plan to use wind and solar electricity, prepare to pay a very high fuel price.

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