NOVA PBS

History's Innovative Autos

back | 9 of 9 | next

GM fuel-cell car

Hydrogen fuel cells
Fuel cells combine fuel (usually hydrogen) and oxygen to produce electricity through chemical reactions similar to those that occur in batteries. While some automakers are now trying to develop hydrogen fuel-cell cars, General Motors actually designed its own, the Electrovan, as early as 1966. While the Electrovan (above) could travel up to 70 mph and 120 miles between refuelings, it was too expensive to produce commercially. Recent advances have made affordable fuel cells more likely, and in 2003 the U.S. Congress pledged $1.2 billion to make such vehicles cost-effective by 2020.


Car of the Future homepage | NOVA homepage

NOVAPBS