We often talk about fuel cell vehicles as if they had nothing to do with battery electric vehicles.
Hydrogen cars run on H2 and are equipped with fuel cells and storage tanks, but do they also need batteries? This is a common question, because we often talk about fuel cell vehicles as if they had nothing to do with electric vehicles.
Just as traditional internal combustion engine vehicles need batteries, fuel cell vehicles need them.
Although hydrogen cars generate their own electricity through their fuel cells, a buffer in the form of a small high-voltage battery is still needed. Electricity from a fuel cell is difficult to control because the reaction rate of the fuel cell is not considered to be entirely smooth.
So when a driver steps on the accelerator, it’s important that the reaction is smooth and linear. To do this, an electronic control system comparable to that of a battery-powered electric car is used. At least that’s the case with the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the battery capacity is around 1.5 kilowatt hours, which is low.
In general, there are several reasons why a hydrogen car still needs a small battery.
Among these reasons is the fact that a battery is used in a fuel cell vehicle:
- To keep the vehicle powered and able to run even when the fuel cell starts up, as a fuel cell must reach 50°C before it starts generating electricity. So there will be a short delay in hot weather and a bit longer in cold weather.
- To drive the air pump, you need to heat the fuel cell and start the reaction. In a Toyota Mirai, for example, there is a 20 kW air pump.
- To improve vehicle throttle response, as the fuel cell needs increased airflow and H2 for higher power output.
- To increase the efficiency of regenerative braking energy.
- To power the on-board electronics.
Although it is possible to run hydrogen cars with an H2 combustion engine without a battery using alternative technology, batteries are probably the most practical, affordable and efficient option for vehicle starting. supplement and for other purposes.