The zero-emissions Vauxhall HydroGen 4 vehicle


The HydroGen4 car – our fourth-generation fuel-cell vehicle – is the result of over ten years of research into fuel cells and hydrogen. Its advanced technology is a dream come true: instead of combustion it uses an electro-chemical reaction to power the electric drive. Water vapour is all that comes out of the exhaust pipe – the HydroGen4 produces no harmful emissions.

What is a hydrogen fuel cell?

In a vehicle fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen are converted into electrical energy at a temperature of 80 °C. This powers the electric drive-motor of the vehicle. Each fuel cell comprises a hydrogen electrode (anode), an oxygen electrode (cathode), and an electrolyte (a polymer membrane). Multiple cells connected in series form a fuel cell stack, which provides enough power for the operation of an electric drive system. The overall efficiency is about twice that of a car propelled by an internal combustion engine – in other words, energy consumption is halved.


The HydroGen4’s fuel-cell stack consists of 440 cells powering a 73 kW synchronous electric motor. The front-wheel-drive vehicle accelerates from zero to 60mph in 12 seconds and on to a top speed of 100mph. It has a range of 200 miles and features a 1.8kHh battery back-up.