Fuel cells were modeled as range extenders for electric vehicles. In this application, the fuel cell would supplement a medium sized (16kWh) battery in order to increase the range of the electric vehicle. The fuel cell range extender is compared to an internal combustion engine (ICE) based range extender in terms of vehicle fuel economy and cost per mile driven. Since the fuel cell is about 40% more efficient than the ICE, the fuel economy of a fuel cell range extender was estimated to be 68 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe), while the economy of an ICE range extender was estimated as 42 MPGe. The use of a fuel cell also increased the fuel economy during battery-only operation by 4%, since the fuel cell range extender is slightly lighter than the ICE. The cost per mile driven of a range extended electric vehicle changes with trip length, and energy source costs. However, at $4/kg hydrogen, the fuel cell range extended vehicle cost per mile is about 30% lower than that of the ICE-based range extended vehicle at $2.90/gal regular-grade gasoline.
Florida Solar Energy Center and Brooker, R. Paul, "Fuel Cells As Electric Vehicle Range Extenders" (2015). FSEC Energy Research Center®. 158.