Understanding Fuel Cell Cars

Schedule Brake Pad Replacement
Service Area

$124.62 - $450.29

Price range for all vehicles
Average rating from 10,732 customers who received a Brake Pads Replacement.

Electric car developers often broadcast their low emissions compared to traditional internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The majority of fuel cell cars can boast about producing zero emissions — emitting only water and heat. A fuel cell vehicle is still an electric vehicle (EV) but uses hydrogen gas to power its electric motor. These cars use a “fuel cell” instead of a battery to combine hydrogen and oxygen and produce electricity that then runs the motor and only expells nonpolluting tailpipe emissions.

Producing the hydrogen used to fuel the vehicle leads to some greenhouse gas pollution when procured from natural gas, but its use in fuel cell cars significantly reduces overall tailpipe emissions. Often touted as the car of the cleaner-energy future, many automotive manufacturers such as Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and Toyota already offer fuel cell vehicles, with other manufacturers in the conceptual stage. Unlike electric cars, whose complex batteries bring certain design restrictions, fuel cell cars can potentially replace all a manufacturer’s models.

To better understand hydrogen fuel cell cars, take a look at how they compare to regular ICEs, EVs, and hybrids in terms of refueling and range, environmental impact, and affordability.

Refueling and Range

Though the number of fueling stations is limited right now, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are refueled similarly to ICE vehicles. Hydrogen refueling stations sell pressurized hydrogen that fills up a car in minutes. Actual refill time depends on hydrogen pressure and ambient temperature, but it is typically well under ten minutes. Other electric vehicles take a longer time to recharge and do not achieve the same range as conventional cars.

When full, the driving range of a fuel cell vehicle is similar to gasoline and diesel-run cars, traveling 200-200 miles off of a full charge. Like electric vehicles, they can also shut down the fuel cell to conserve energy while at stoplights or in traffic. Some models even incorporate regenerative braking to regain lost energy and keep the battery charged. In terms of fuel and range, fuel cell cars find the happy medium of certain hybrids that run on battery and/or motor power depending on driving circumstances. They capture the best of both ICEs and EVs with quick refilling, extended range, and energy-saving modes.

Unfortunately, as appealing as the long range and fast refuel sound, the number of hydrogen fueling stations is limited to a few big cities — almost exclusively in California’s San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. Infrastructure for fuel cell charging and refueling is working to meet a steadily growing demand, but still has a lot of catching up to do compared to EV charging station numbers and even more so with gas station locations.

Environmental Impact

With traditional cars, EVs, and fuel cell cars, there remains discussion and concern over long-term environmental impacts. Gasoline-powered cars produce a hefty amount of emissions, and battery electric cars create a notable footprint during production.

The hydrogen used in fuel cell cars is mostly obtained from natural gas. Natural gas is combined with high-temperature and high-pressure steam to form hydrogen. Called steam-methane reforming, the process does produce some carbon dioxide, but in overall smaller quantities when compared to EVs, hybrids, and fossil-fueled cars.

Since fuel cell cars are mostly seen in California, the state requires that at least 22 percent of the hydrogen gas put into the vehicle comes from renewable sources.

Affordability and Incentives

Fuel cell cars offer many benefits in terms of fuel efficiency and environmental impact. They fill up fast and have a range competitive with ICE vehicles. However, they cost a great deal of money to lease or purchase, as does their hydrogen fuel. Most manufacturers cover the cost of fuel for a limited time to help offset the high price tag in the hopes that vehicle and fuel costs will decrease over time.

In California, the state with the most, though small, fuel cell infrastructure, incentives were made available. Starting in February 2016, California offered rebates for fuel cell cars if funding was available. This was part of a state incentive to introduce more clean vehicles to the roadways. To receive the rebate, fuel cell car owners need to apply their vehicle. Owners would also qualify for a sticker giving them access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Fuel cell cars may become the practical car of tomorrow. Though cost and availability of charging stations hinder their demand right now, the potential for widespread availability and efficient driving remains. They look and operate like most other cars on the road — you’ll find no surprises sitting behind the wheel — but they suggest the possibility of widespread clean-energy driving in the near future.


Next Step

Schedule Brake Pad Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Brake Pad Replacement. Yourmechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7 days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 10k cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Brake Pad Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Brake Pad Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

10,732

Rating Summary
10,227
323
67
33
82
10,227
323
67
33
82

Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Niles, Illinois
Rigo was great! He got there early, finished the job early, left everything clean. He changed my rear pads and rotors. The original quoted time was 90 minutes, he was done in about 60. He knows what he is doing and I am recommending him to all my friends and coworkers.
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Chicago, Illinois
Rigo is a maverick hands down. Don’t take your car for work elsewhere. Especially great at Mercedes—this guy knows his profession! I will be using him for everything related to my car going forward.

Arturo

25 years of experience
35 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Diego, California
Arturo was prompt and completed my brake repair, including new rotors in a very efficient manner. I am very pleased with the quality of the work and the parts and will definitely look to have him service our other car in the near future.

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Michael

10 years of experience
15 reviews
Michael
10 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Conyers, Georgia
He was promptly on time and got the job done efficiently in a timely manner. I really appreciate the rapid respone on getting the job done! I would most definitely use this service again.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE