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All about FCEV – 2
How Safe are Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles?

2019-09-06

The FCEV is recognized as the center-piece of hydrogen-based economy, as well as the mainstay of eco-friendly future mobility. Its safety is a major concern for some. Just how safe are FCEVs

A hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEVs) uses a fuel-cell system to convert hydrogen as its fuel to generate electricity. Hydrogen is one of the most common substances available, and the combustion process creates virtually no emissions. As such, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles are set to be a driving force of the near hydrogen-society as well as be a pillar in the future of mobility. Hyundai’s recently launched FCEV NEXO features those advantages, as well as long range, outstanding dynamic performance, and an eco-friendly air-scrubbing effect. What about safety, though? Read on to find out about the safety of FCEVs and hydrogen which fuels them.

Different hydrogen isotopes in FCEVs and hydrogen atom bombs

Hydrogen that fuels FCEVs and hydrogen used in the hydrogen bomb are completely different in nature and principal. The hydrogen bomb uses extremely rare types of hydrogen, which are deuterium and tritium.

Relative risks by fuel type

Hydrogen is a relatively new and unfamiliar energy source to most of the public, but it has been a staple element used across industries for a long time. Safety as a source of fuel is one of its key features.

FCEV hydrogen tank specifications
An FCEV hydrogen tank’s inner lining is made of a polyamide liner that minimizes hydrogen permeation. The outer lining is made from carbon-fiber composite plastics that maintain integrity against high pressures of up to 700 bars. (calculations based on Hyundai NEXO)

Key tests for hydrogen tank safety
A FCEV’s hydrogen tank undergoes various tests to receive international safety certification, including drop impact tests, bullet penetration tests, and bonfire tests.

Hydrogen leak detection system in FCEVs
Multiple real-time sensors detect any leakage from the fuel tank, feed system, and the fuel cell stacks, allowing timely remedy against any leakage.

Fuel cell system safety
An FCEV fuel cell system is designed to allow control in the most unexpected contingencies

FCEV safety evaluation
FCEVs not only meet the same safety conditions and standards as internal combustion engine vehicles, but are further tested for hydrogen tank safety certification.

NEXO is an FCEV that is also ranked the safest SUV
The Hyundai NEXO garnered a highest rating from the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), and was voted the safest car in the Large Offroad category. It proved excellence in safety, beyond that of internal combustion engine vehicles.