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Pros and Cons of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

ByAmirah Tan

Nov 16, 2023

I have wanted to give up my gasoline vehicle for a long time and upgrade to an eco-friendly car. Many of my friends suggested buying an electric vehicle, but I wanted to research all the alternative eco-friendly options first. That is when I came across hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Based on the extensive research that I conducted, it’s evident that hydrogen fuel cell cars may be more energy efficient than traditional electric vehicles. Since hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity, the vehicle can travel greater distances without a gas station. That alone was reason enough for me to choose a hydrogen car over an electric car.

You will learn about hydrogen cars’ pros and cons as you continue reading. But in the end, I think you will be eager for hydrogen cars to become mainstream after weighing the hydrogen fuel advantages and disadvantages.


What is a Hydrogen Car?

hydrogen car

hydrogen car

A hydrogen car is an eco-friendly vehicle that uses hydrogen and air to produce electricity to move the wheels. Fuel cells containing pressurized hydrogen are the primary energy source of a hydrogen car. Once outside air enters the fuel cells and makes contact with the pressurized hydrogen, the combination produces electricity.

My experience talking with industry leaders and government energy officials has given me valuable insights into the effectiveness of hydrogen cars. They told me hydrogen fuel cell cars have great potential to dominate traditional electric cars because they do not depend on a car battery as much for electricity. Instead, the battery is only an auxiliary power source if you run low on hydrogen.


How Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Work

Basic principles of fuel cells

The role of hydrogen in fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel cells need compressed hydrogen and air to generate electricity. Here is how it works:

Each hydrogen fuel cell contains an anode and a cathode. When you refuel your hydrogen car, you add hydrogen gas to the anode part of the fuel cell. The anode contains a catalyst which splits hydrogen molecules into electrons and protons.

The oxygen in the air enters the cathode on the opposite side of the fuel cell. The electrons pass through an electrical circuit outside the fuel cell. The protons travel through a central area of the fuel cell called the electrolyte. From there, the protons and oxygen unite to produce electricity.

The science behind this process is truly unique. I always think about it when weighing the pros and cons of hydrogen fuel cells myself. But you don’t have to concern yourself with it unless mechanical problems develop. However, I have not had any mechanical problems since I bought my hydrogen fuel cell car a few years ago. So, I suspect you will have the same luck I have had, too.


What are the Pros and Cons of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars?

With a new profound understanding of hydrogen fuel cell cars, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when using these vehicles. You can review the pros and cons that I listed below to see for yourself why a hydrogen fuel cell car upgrade may be a worthy investment for you to consider.


1. No Carbon Emissions – The most significant advantage of a hydrogen fuel cell car is it does not produce toxic carbon emissions that pollute the environment. You will only see water emissions from the tailpipe, which are 100% non-hazardous for the environment.

2. Long Range Driving ­– You can only drive electric vehicles a short distance before recharging the battery. Since hydrogen fuel cell cars do not depend on a battery for electricity, they can travel the same long distance as petrol vehicles before refuelling. I get about 300 miles on my hydrogen fuel cell vehicle before I need to refuel it again.

3. Fast Refueling Time – Forget about waiting hours for an electric battery to recharge. You can refuel hydrogen fuel cells in about 3 to 5 minutes, saving you an enormous amount of time. It is about the same time it takes to refuel a petrol vehicle.

4. Government Tax Credits and Incentives – California is the primary state where hydrogen fuel cell cars are sold and used. The state government allows residents who purchase a hydrogen fuel cell car to claim a tax credit of up to $4,500. In addition, the U.S. federal government may provide tax credits of up to $9,500.

5. Silent Driving – Hydrogen fuel cell cars offer a driving experience similar to electric vehicles because they do not emit sounds or vibrations while producing electricity. I find it a very comfortable driving experience I never got from my petrol vehicle.



1. Expensive Purchase Price – The primary reason more people have not switched to hydrogen fuel cell cars is the purchase price. Most auto dealerships charge anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 for a new hydrogen fuel cell car. And since there are not too many used ones for sale, you will probably have no choice but to purchase them new.

2. Expensive Fuel Prices – We all care about fuel prices. But if you are someone who always has to check the latest fuel prices at your local gas station, you probably will not like the cost of hydrogen gas fuel. It typically costs about $80 to $100 each time you refuel your vehicle’s hydrogen fuel cells with more pressurized hydrogen gas.

3. Limited Number of Fuel Stations – Most traditional gas stations do not have hydrogen fuel options. You can only find them in some states, such as California and Hawaii. Perhaps there will be more in the future if hydrogen cars become more popular.

4. Expensive and Limited Repair Options – The average auto mechanic will not have the necessary experience or equipment to repair hydrogen fuel cell cars. But even if you could find one, the prices for labor and replacement parts would be far more excellent than they would be for ordinary petrol vehicles.

Read also: Hydrogen Cars: Beyond the Innovation – How Safe Are They

Are They the Future or Just a Passing Phase?

Now, you have learned about hydrogen cars’ pros and cons. Based on the information, hydrogen cars have great potential to revolutionize the automotive industry.

Auto manufacturers simply need to expand production on hydrogen cars so that more dealerships will sell them in the United States and around the world. Then, once there are more hydrogen cars on the road, you will see more hydrogen fuel cell stations available.

If you do not live in California, you may need help finding a hydrogen car for sale. But keep on the lookout for them because they are bound to expand to other states in the near future.


Disclaimer: Readers can trust the information provided as it aligns with established research from multiple credible sources of information. These sources include TWI Global, Sustainable America, and V3 Cars.

Amirah Tan

Amirah Tan is a highly skilled writer with a passion for exploring the intersection of software and social dynamics in...

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