How much does it cost to convert a car into a fuel cell vehicle

How much does it cost to convert a car into a fuel cell vehicle

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February 5, 2022 2 By Erin Kilgore

As FCVs slowly rise in popularity as passenger cars, some wonder how much a conversion would cost.

As the Mirai continues to make Toyota news headlines, fuel cell vehicle (FCV) popularity has remained in the spotlight.  This has had some people looking at the price of a new hydrogen powered car, while others wonder what it would cost to convert their conventional internal combustion engine powered car into one using H2.

The specific cost of this type of conversion depends on many factors.

There are many different factors that would help to decide how much it would cost to convert your car into a fuel cell vehicle. As this has not yet become a common practice, a set figure or price range has not been established, particularly not when it comes down to the model of the car to be converted.

That said, there are certain speculations that could be made based on typical cars and what they would require to be powered by H2.

To start, the conversion of an internal combustion engine car into a fuel cell vehicle would be about half the cost of converting the same car to become battery electric. Among the main reasons for this is that the battery required in the FCV is about a tenth the size of what is needed for a battery electric car. The conversion costs can be assumed to be similar to what it would cost to convert to propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

hydrogen gas station for fuel cell vehicle

Currently the primary challenge of converting to a fuel cell vehicle would be the availability of hydrogen.

Hydrogen refueling stations remain few and far between, and the price of H2 is still notably more expensive than traditional gasoline. Therefore, the cost of the conversion of the car itself is only a jumping off point for the additional expenses that would be involved.

Even Toyota, the large automaker that has been the most outwardly vocal about the promise it sees in FCVs, admits that they don’t offer any savings in terms of fuel costs.  Though this may one day be the case – and that is the aim of a large and growing number of companies and countries worldwide – that time has not yet come.

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