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FCVs PHEVs and BEVs Compared

Fuel Cells 2000, a non-profit educational organization has come up with a head-to-head comparison of two FCVs (fuel cell vehicles), one PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) and one BEV (battery electric vehicle) to see if public perception is accurate.

Because the Nissan Leaf BEV and Chevy Volt PHEV have garnered so much media attention in the past couple of years Fuel Cells 2000 thought it would be interesting to compare these two vehicles to the Honda Clarity FCV and Mercedes B-Class F-Cell FCV.

These two FCVs have already been rolled out in limited production to consumers under 3 year lease agreements. The Nissan Leaf has just been sold to its first customer in Northern California and the Chevy Volt is expected to rollout sometime in 2011.

There are a few surprises on the Fuel Cells 2000 chart including that FCVs have a range of 240 miles while the Leaf has a range of only 73 miles. The Chevy Volt has a range of 379 miles, but most of this is by using its gasoline engine (except for the first 35 miles that is on all battery alone).

Another surprise is that the Chevy Volt can be partially charged under level II charging conditions in as little as 4 hours or become fully charged under level I conditions in 10 – 12 hours. The Nissan Leaf, however, needs 7 hours under level II conditions and 20+ hours under level I charging conditions. FCVs by comparison refuel in about 5 minutes.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has also put out a report outlining well to wheel comparisons of different types of future midsize green vehicles. The lowest emissions according to this report for both BEVs and FCVs come from ultra-low autobon renewable electricity such as from wind, solar and hydroelectric.

The second lowest emitting vehicles are FCVs with hydrogen made from biomass. And the third lowest emitting vehicles are FCVs with hydrogen made from nuclear high temperature electrolysis cracking of water.

So, even though many consumers assume that FCVs are still in the development stages, the facts state otherwise. Hydrogen powered FCVs stack up well against other low emissions vehicles and looks like they will continue to do so for years to come.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen auto blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen autos, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Avatar

    Check the comparative list of four vehicles, and see the ‘Volt lye’ 379 miles range, its price $440,379 is absolutly out of focus. This could take GM to bankrupcy with no return. I think the only solution for GM is to buy NISSAN and produce Leaf with GM logo. That means L.O.S. Operation System (lie Operating System). Good bye baby.

  2. Avatar

    I don’t get why more people are not excited about the Volt! Most people commute 35-40 miles per day and will possibly see weeks where they will not use a drop of gas! If you own the Volt and decide to travel a long distance, all you need to do is gas up! Since gas stations already exist everywhere in the world, you are still free to travel to any place in this country and not be tethered by any distance. The only setback of the Volt is price, which could potentially come down.

    I am more excited about the FCV’s however it will take a long time to get to a point where these vehicles can be used to travel across the country. How long will it take to get to a point where these hydrogen stations are well distributed throughout the country? Will there be an option for home refueling stations?

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