Basic Information on Hydrogen Hybrid Cars

October 31, 2012

Drivers interested in the newest technology for controlling auto emissions might be looking at hydrogen hybrid cars. These clean-running vehicles will help owners create a smaller carbon footprint. Although hydrogen powered cars are just starting to appear on the market, they are turning heads.

The Hydrogen Hybrid
Auto makers have come up with two different ways to supply part or all of a vehicle's power from hydrogen. The first way is with a hydrogen combustion engine. In this case, hydrogen replaces gasoline as the engine fuel. The fuel costs of hydrogen can vary a lot, and creating the hydrogen engine costs money, so people driving these vehicles pay much more for them than the average hybrid car owner.

The second way to power cars and other vehicles with hydrogen is through "hydrogen fuel cells," where a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen creates electricity that can be used to run a motor. As a versatile fuel solution, fuel cells are gaining in popularity, including in setups where a smaller electric motor supports a conventional gasoline-driven internal combustion engine.

Getting a Hydrogen Hybrid
Customers who want to drive a hydrogen hybrid car may have to go an unconventional route. Hydrogen vehicles must be converted by third parties hired by their owners. It's not the usual case of buying the technology from auto manufacturers. Instead, independent shops like the aptly named Hydrogen Car Company in California customize your ride for hydrogen power. A collection of shops offer hydrogen designs, some specializing in converting a specific make such as Ford or Nissan. There are even "Hydrogen Hummers" for those who want a greener experience from a tank-like vehicle.

Downsides of Hydrogen Hybrid Cars

Overall, most would agree that hydrogen hybrid cars are an example of very desirable scientific progress, but there are some less than great things about the hydrogen hybrid vehicles currently available. Here are some of the down sides to owning one of these renewable energy vehicles.

  • Costly engine modifications. A hydrogen converted engine can easily cost upwards of $40,000, making hydrogen hybrid cars a less thrifty option for buyers
  • Limited fuel supply. With maybe a dozen hydrogen filling stations in even the most progressive cities, it's currently not easy to get refueled in these vehicles
  • Complex repair and insurance situations. When you're driving this new technology, there are fewer qualified mechanics who can work with it in substantial repair situations. You also may have trouble developing fair insurance rates for a converted vehicle, as insurers often stick to what they know

3 Reasons That Hydrogen Hybrid Cars Are Ecologically Desirable

Vehicles that use hydrogen as an alternative fuel offer a lot of advantages over conventional fossil fuel powered vehicles. Not only do hydrogen powered hybrid vehicles get excellent fuel mileage, they are great for the environment as well. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Zero carbon based emissions. Hydrogen hybrid cars produce no carbon based emissions at all. In fact, the only elements that are released into the atmosphere by a hydrogen hybrid car are heat and water. Since the hydrogen is created by separating the hydrogen component from water, no dangerous or toxic fumes are released into the atmosphere as they are with fossil fuels such as diesel or gasoline
  • Reduced dependence on foreign oil. Because hydrogen can be created from water, our country's dependence on foreign oil will be greatly diminished. Also, because the United States uses more oil than any other country, reducing the amount of oil used in the United States will go far to conserve fossil fuels for future generations and developing nations that don't have the technology or resources to presently use many alternative fuel resources
  • Much safer than sossil fuels. Not only is hydrogen more environmentally friendly in the types of exhaust released into the atmosphere, it is much safer than gasoline, diesel or natural gas. Hydrogen fuel cells used to power a vehicle are much safer than other types of fuel and will result in far fewer spills or fuel fires.