Hydrogen: What's Different Now

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This is an exciting time for hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). They seem to be on the verge of a major market breakthrough. However, those of us who have been working in the hydrogen and FC industry for a while are familiar with the boom and bust cycle of FCEV hype-it feels like we have been here before. The first FC automobile was designed as far back as the 1960s. NASA was using FCs to power its spacecraft, and, in 1966, General Motors (GM) used this space-age technology in the prototype GM Electrovan. The Electrovan used the body and chassis of GM's Handivan, their production utility van at the time. The FC and hydrogen components for this vehicle filled nearly the entire available space of the van. At this point, FCs were clearly too expensive and impractical for production vehicles.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4-7
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Electrification Magazine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-71188


  • automobiles
  • electric vehicles
  • fuel cells
  • green products
  • hydrogen
  • renewable energy sources


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