One of a number of “holy grails” sought after to reduce, if not eliminate, our automotive fleet’s dependence upon petroleum energy sources, fuel cell technology has long been pursued as a workable solution. A number of mainstream manufacturers have experimented with the technology, even going so far as to produce working prototypes. Two highly respected manufacturers have even offered fuel cell powered models to the public. However, the cost of mass manufacturing such a vehicle is still rather prohibitive — making it difficult to sell them at a profit.
The fuel cell was invented all the way back in 1839, but was then called the “gas battery”. NASA sent fuel cells into space in the 1960’s. The first auto manufacturer to put a fuel cell vehicle on the street was Honda. That company’s FCX Clarity was made available to consumers in a limited leasing program back in 2008.
Basically, an electric car powered by hydrogen, fuel cell vehicles offer the promise of providing for our transportation needs with no harmful tailpipe emissions. The upside appears infinite, however to get there, a number of challenges must be overcome.