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A new kind of hybrid

Bing Energy, for the foreseeable future, will market its fuel cells only as range extenders for electric vehicles powered by batteries. The fuel cell (above left) is located under the car’s hood. The hydrogen that powers the fuel cell is stored in a tank in the vehicle’s trunk area. In the future, some vehicles may be powered entirely by electricity generated by the fuel cells, with no need for batteries. Recently, several major vehicle manufacturers have announced plans to sell fuel-cell-powered vehicles in the U.S. There are only two fuel-cell vehicles available in the U.S. currently: Honda’s FCX Clarity and the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell. But this year Hyundai began offering a fuel-cell version of its Tucson sport utility vehicle this year. And Honda and Toyota are expected to release fuel-cell cars next year.

The fuel-cell frenzy is driven by an attempt to meet California’s requirement that 15% of vehicles sold in the state be zero-emission vehicles by 2025.