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PHOTO CAPTION: Actress Diane Kruger refuels Mercedes-Benz F-Cell hydrogen fuel cell sedan.

Six Electric Cars About to Rattle the Auto Industry

The six electric cars include the Tesla Model X, the Soul EV, Mercedes F-Cell, battery electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells.

Published: 23-Jun-2014

Let’s get it out of the way. For an automobile to operate without the help of oil or coal, the only way to travel is in a battery-powered car charged exclusively with solar energy. That’s a “zero emissions” vehicle. Every other car in the electric vehicle and hybrid categories create emissions from the power generated by plants running on natural gas or coal, though the reduction in emissions is significant. At the end of the day, the EV industry has a promising future ahead with “zero-tailpipe-emissions” cars.

The introduction of fuel cell vehicles complicates things. On the one hand, hydrogen fuel cells provide a much longer driving range than battery electric vehicles. Fuel cell vehicles also have the ability to change tanks and refuel in just a few minutes, rather than needing 30 minutes or more to charge. One big problem is the “well-to-wheel” process that currently involves big emissions to make hydrogen available from natural gas. Julian Cox’s letter to the California Energy Commission, which circulated widely in May 2014, called into question the claimed emissions benefits of fuel cell vehicle manufacturers.

For now, it appears fuel cell vehicles will not present an improvement over battery electric vehicles or clean diesel cars. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced it was investing $20 million to increase efficiency in the process of bringing usable hydrogen to the market, so it is anyone’s guess how this battle will play out. While it does, here are six cars that produce zero emissions on the road and are ready to shake up the auto industry in the coming year.

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