When It Comes to Fuel Cell Cars, the Future Is Already Here

The world’s greenest vehicles are at the L.A. Auto Show, as well as the city’s showrooms

The L.A. Auto Show always features some of the greenest cars on the road. This year is no exception, although there are several new zero emission vehicles being showcased that might surprise green car aficionados.

A lot of people still think zero emission vehicles with long range and quick refueling times are years away from reality, but this year there are two new fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that aren’t just being featured at the Auto Show—they’re already in select showrooms.

Toyota and Hyundai are betting big on fuel cell electric vehicles that offer high performance, greater cargo capacity, longer range and fast refueling times. They’ve recently launched a sedan (Toyota Mirai) and compact SUV (Hyundai Tucson). Meanwhile, Honda just announced they will be offering their new Clarity sedan late next year (you can check it out at the L.A. Auto show where it is making its North American debut as well).

Many people don’t realize that FCEVs operate on the same electric motors that traditional battery and plug-in electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt use. Instead of relying on batteries, FCEVs utilize hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to power the electric motor. As a result, only water vapor comes out of the exhaust.

Thanks to the ongoing support of Governor Brown and former Governor Schwarzenegger, the “hydrogen highway” of fueling stations also are coming online just as these vehicles are beginning to be sold. More than 50 stations are expected to open soon throughout the state. California continues to lead the way when it comes to advancing clean car technologies that clean up our air, help us reach our state’s pollution reduction goals and help fight climate change.

FCEVs are just the latest cars to provide cleaner and greener options for California drivers… and you’ll be seeing more of them soon. —Brian Goldstein

Brian Goldstein is the Executive Director of Energy Independence Now (EIN), the only nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to advancing fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and the hydrogen fueling infrastructure required to catalyze a rapid transition to a clean energy and transportation economy.