History of hydrogen fuel cells: who made the first hydrogen car?


If you’re the type of person who still hasn’t understood DVD players and would rather have your technological advancements come at turtle speed rather than hare, the concept of hydrogen-powered cars may have you covered. miss the days when penny-farthings ruled the roads.

Hydrogen powered vehicles may seem daunting coming from the future, but it’s transportation technology that’s been around much longer than you might think.

Learn more about hydrogen cars

Who made the first hydrogen car?

The first hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle looked more like a torture device than something that could reliably move you, and it was created by Swiss inventor François Isaac de Rivaz in 1807, using a balloon filled with hydrogen and oxygen. Technically, it could be called the first hydrogen car, although the first modern hydrogen vehicle did not arrive until 150 years later.

The history of hydrogen fuel cells

Back when life was cold enough that an average person could have three jobs at a time (that would be in 1847), chemist, lawyer and physicist William Grove invented a working fuel cell, that is – that is, a device that converts the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen. in electricity, thus giving him the right to boast of being the inventor of the fuel cell.

The history of the fuel cell was written when Groves’ work was developed by English engineer Francis Thomas Bacon between 1939 and 1959, the first modern fuel cell vehicle being an Allis-Chalmers farm tractor that had been equipped with a 15 kW fuel cell in the late 1950s.

The first road vehicle to use a fuel cell was the Chevrolet Electrovan, which arrived in 1966 from General Motors and offered a range of nearly 200 km and a top speed of 112 km / h.

Hydrogen was primarily used as a fuel source for space shuttles in the 1980s and 1990s, but in 2001 the first 700 bar (10,000 PSI) hydrogen tanks came into play – a game changer as the technology could be used in vehicles and extend the driving range.

The late 2000s and early 2010s were a boom period for hydrogen cars gently launched into the global market. In 2008, Honda released the FCX Clarity, which was available to lease for customers in Japan and Southern California, though it was relegated to the big parking lot in the sky in 2015.

About 20 other hydrogen-powered vehicles have been launched in prototype or demonstration form, including Mercedes-Benz’s F-Cell Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV – not “FCV” as some call it), the HydroGen4 from General Motors, and the Hyundai ix35 FCEV.

Hydrogen Cars: What’s Available, What’s Coming Soon

Hyundai nexo

The case for hydrogen cars as a viable transportation option was reinforced when, in 2018, Hyundai launched the Nexo in Korea, where it sold over 10,000 units and costs the equivalent of $ 84,000. Australian.

The Nexo is also on sale in the United States (in the eco-friendly state of California), the United Kingdom and Australia, where it has been available on special rental to government and large corporations since March 2021, this which makes it the very first The FCEV will be marketed on our coasts.

Currently, the only place to refuel the Nexo in NSW is at Hyundai’s headquarters in Sydney, although there is a semi-public hydrogen refueling station located in Canberra, where the government has leased a certain number of hydrogen FCEVs.

The hydrogen storage on board can hold 156.5 liters, the Nexo being capable of a range of 666 km with electric motor powers of 120 kW / 395 Nm.

Refueling the Nexo – and all hydrogen cars – only takes a few minutes, which is a major advantage over electric vehicles, which take anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours to recharge.

Toyota mirai

The first generation Mirai FCEV arrived in Japan in 2014, and the recently launched second generation version has already caused a sensation in the media by setting a world record by covering 1360 km with a full tank of 5.65 kg. hydrogen.

Like Hyundai, Toyota is hoping that the hydrogen refueling infrastructure in Australia will expand quickly so that it can sell its FCEV to consumers, with Mirais leased in Australia currently only being able to refuel at a Toyota-owned site in Altona. Victoria.

The hydrogen storage on board is 141 liters and the range is 650 km.

H2X Warrego

Australian start-up FCEV H2X Global will begin deliveries of its hydrogen-powered Warrego ute in April 2022.

Front-of-the-road price tags aren’t for the faint of heart: $ 189,000 for the Warrego 66, $ 235,000 for the Warrego 90 and $ 250,000 for the Warrego 90 XR.

The on-board hydrogen tanks are available in 6.2 kg (range 500 km) or 9.3 kg (range 750 km).

As well…

A Hyundai Staria FCEV is in the works, along with FCEVs from Kia, Genesis, Ineos Automotive (the Grenadier 4×4) and Land Rover (the iconic Defender).


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