Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), like all-electric vehicles, power an electric motor with electricity. FCEVs, in contrast to other electric vehicles, use a hydrogen-powered fuel cell to generate electricity rather than relying solely on a battery to do so. The size of the electric motors that receive electric power from the fuel cell and battery combination that is appropriate for the vehicle determines the vehicle’s power during the design process. The majority of FCEVs currently use the battery for recapturing braking energy, providing extra power during short acceleration events, and smoothing out the power delivered from the fuel cell with the option to idle or turn off the fuel cell during low power needs, despite the fact that automakers could design an FCEV with plug-in capabilities to charge the battery. The size of the hydrogen fuel tank determines how much energy is stored onboard. In contrast, an all-electric vehicle has a battery that is proportional to its size in terms of power and energy available. Find out more about electric fuel cell vehicles.
Key Components of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Car
Battery (auxiliary): In an electric drive vehicle, the low-voltage auxiliary battery provides electricity to start the car before the traction battery is engaged; it also powers vehicle accessories.
Battery pack: This high-voltage battery stores energy generated from regenerative braking and provides supplemental power to the electric traction motor.
DC/DC converter: This device converts higher-voltage DC power from the traction battery pack to the lower-voltage DC power needed to run vehicle accessories and recharge the auxiliary battery.
Electric traction motor (FCEV): Using power from the fuel cell and the traction battery pack, this motor drives the vehicle’s wheels. Some vehicles use motor generators that perform both the drive and regeneration functions.
Fuel cell stack: An assembly of individual membrane electrodes that use hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity.
Fuel filler: A nozzle from a fuel dispenser attaches to the receptacle on the vehicle to fill the tank.
Fuel tank (hydrogen): Stores hydrogen gas onboard the vehicle until it’s needed by the fuel cell.
Power electronics controller (FCEV): This unit manages the flow of electrical energy delivered by the fuel cell and the traction battery, controlling the speed of the electric traction motor and the torque it produces.
Thermal system (cooling) – (FCEV): This system maintains a proper operating temperature range of the fuel cell, electric motor, power electronics, and other components.
Transmission (electric): The transmission transfers mechanical power from the electric traction motor to drive the wheels.