A fuel cell car or fuel cell electric car is a type of hybrid car which makes use of a fuel cell instead of an engine in combination with a battery to power its electric motor. Fuel cells in cars produce electricity to power an electric motor, generally using oxygen from the air and compressed hydrogen. A fuel cell car emits only water and heat, and centralizes pollutants.
Fuel Cell Stacks
This can be rightly termed as the heart of the hydrogen fuel cell car. Their maximum output is 86 kilowatts, or about 107 HP. Hydrogen fuel cell stacks can produce power without combustion, they can be twice as efficient as internal combustion engines. They also produce no carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
Fuel Cell Cooling System
This has several components. Present at an angle at the front of the care is a large radiator for the fuel cell system, while two radiators for the motor and transmission lie ahead of the front wheels beneath the headlights. The car also has a cooling pump located near the fuel cell stacks to stabilize the temperature within the stacks.
This unit acts as a supplementary power source to the fuel cell stack. Like a huge battery, it recovers and stores energy generated during deceleration and braking. It uses this energy to give a “power assist” during startup and acceleration.
Though space in a car is limited, yet hydrogen the most dispersive element in the universe normally requires lots of room. A challenge for manufacturers is how to compress the gas into tanks small enough to fit in a compact car and yet still provide enough fuel for hundreds of miles of driving between refueling.
The electric motor offers a maximum output and enable the highest speed. This car can also start in subfreezing temperatures. Being electric, the car and it’s engine are quiet, with none of the vibration or exhaust sound of a gas-powered automobile.
Run by a high-voltage electric motor, this pump provides air at the appropriate pressure and flow rate to the fuel cell stacks. The air then mixes with the stored hydrogen to produce electricity.
It monitors and maintains the level of humidity that the fuel cell stack needs to achieve peak operating efficiency. It does this by recovering some of the water from the electrochemical reaction that occurs within the fuel cell stack and recycling for use in humidification.
Power Control Unit
This controls the car’s electrical systems, including the air and cooling pumps as well as output from the electric motor, fuel cell stacks and ultra capacitor.
Hydrogen Filler Mouth
The cars are filled with hydrogen just as an ordinary car is filled with gasoline. The main difference is that a fuel cell car must be grounded before fueling to avoid the hazards of static electricity. This model has two side-by-side openings, with the latch to open the hydrogen filler mouth located inside the opening for the grounding wire.
The limited production car is being researched and developed by some major automobile makers. At present costing of such cars is about $1 million apiece, hence none is currently for sale, though hundreds of fuel cell cars are undergoing tests on the world’s roads.
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