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Fuel Cell MDHD

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) use fuel cells for energy conversion, which are more efficient than internal combustion engines. FCEVs use hydrogen as their power source, and they have no tailpipe emissions other than water vapor and warm air. For additional background, see the Alternative Fuels Data Center's Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles webpage.

Explore key cost and performance metrics for fuel cell electric vehicles, including modeled vehicle price, fuel economy, levelized cost of driving, and emissions. Caveats for comparing powertrains are listed on the MDHD Comparison page.

Vehicle Metrics: Fuel Economy and Modeled Vehicle Price

The chart below shows fuel economy and modeled vehicle price, metrics associated with the vehicle. Fuel economy represents how efficiently a vehicle converts fuel during operation. Modeled vehicle price represents an estimated cost to the consumer to purchase a new vehicle, based on modeling that includes manufacturing costs and profit.

The source of the 2022 Transportation ATB modeled vehicle price and fuel economy is the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) report (Islam et al., 2022); the original data are available here. These data are developed using ANL's Autonomie simulation tool.

Select the data to display using the menus above the chart. Use the Metric filter to switch between fuel economy and modeled vehicle price data. Select the vehicle class, powertrain, and other powertrain details using the additional filters.

Vehicle and Fuel Metrics: Levelized Cost of Driving and CO2e Emissions

The chart below shows levelized cost of driving and CO2emissions, in addition to the associated fuel data. Levelized cost of driving is a metric that combines modeled vehicle price, fuel economy, fuel cost, and other assumptions for the selected fuel. CO2e emissions represents the emissions for the fuel well-to-wheels portion of the life cycle for the selected fuel. Emissions associated with vehicle life cycles are not included here.  

The chart shows LCOD bands that include uncertainty and variation in MDHD FCEV fueling costs. These LCOD bands incorporate scenarios of different hydrogen production scale, infrastructure and equipment utilization, costs, fueling types, rates, and business models. See Hydrogen for additional details of the cost of hydrogen.

These calculations use data from Argonne National Laboratory, which develops and applies the Autonomie simulation tool and GREET model (Wang et al., 2022). Links to data from the Argonne National Laboratory report (Islam et al., 2022) on modeled vehicle price and fuel economy are available here.   

Select the data to display using the buttons and menus to the above the chart. Use the Metric filter to switch between levelized cost of driving and CO2e emissions data. Select the pathway, scenario, vehicle class and powertrain details using the additional filters. Clicking the black arrows on the top right of the figure shows additional details of the selected fuel pathways. The underlying source for a data point in the chart can be seen by placing your mouse cursor over that data point. The data sources are also cited—with hyperlinked linked references—in the Key Assumptions section below.


  • The levelized cost of driving in the ATB includes vehicle, fuel, and maintenance costs. Hydrogen fuel prices include IRA 45V credits of up to $3/kg. See the levelized cost of driving definition for details of what is included in and excluded from LCOD in the ATB.
  • Changes over time are attributable only to projected vehicle cost and performance; the fuel cost and emissions are constant over time.
  • The Fuel Pathway filter displays the selected fuel pathways for the Baseline FuelLowest Cost Fuel, and Lowest CO2e Emissions Fuel. When you click the black arrow to display the characteristics of the selected fuel pathways, the table has gaps because the price and emissions data are not available for exactly the same pathways. The full set of fuel pathways is available in the data download.

Key Assumptions

The data and estimates presented here are based on the following key assumptions:

  • Cost and Fuel Economy Trajectories: The cost and fuel economy trajectories for fuel cell electric vehicles are based on estimates of commercially available technologies in the respective years. 
    • Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Storage Tank Cost Trajectories: The assumed fuel cell and hydrogen storage tank cost trajectories can be found in the definition for fuel cell electric vehicles. Estimates of fuel cell costs and hydrogen storage vessel costs are based on an assumption of low production volume manufacturing today that gradually increases to high production volume manufacturing for select scenarios. 
  • Powertrain Detail Filter: The Detail filter allows for selection of multiple powertrain configurations. For full descriptions of alternative configurations, refer to documentation by Islam et al. (Islam et al., 2022).
  • Vehicle Variations: The Transportation ATB presents estimates for a set of representative medium- and heavy-duty vehicles; we do not account for variations in make, model, and trim or for pricing incentives or geographic heterogeneity that influence prices in the market. As a result, representative values shown here may differ from specific models available on the market.
  • Technology Advances: Technology advances include changes that may reduce costs or may increase costs while improving performance, which implies costs do not always decline between less- and more-advanced scenarios.
  • Fuel Economy Improvements: The assumptions about fuel economy improvements reflect adoption of lightweighting and engine efficiency technologies consistently across vehicle powertrains for a given trajectory.
  • Baseline Fuel: The baseline fuel pathway used for this powertrain in the levelized cost of driving and emissions estimates is steam methane reforming (current modeled, current volume). Due to the variability of current hydrogen prices, current modeled costs are used as the Baseline fuel instead of current market costs for hydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles. Additional selected fuel pathways can be displayed by choosing Lowest Cost or Lowest Emissions under the Fuel Pathway filter. Additional information about these and other fuels can be found on the Hydrogen page.
  • Frozen Fuel Price Level: The fuel price and emissions of the selected fuel pathways (e.g., Baseline, Lowest Cost, and Lowest Emissions) are associated with a single year. Because we do not provide a time-series trajectory, here we show fuel price at a frozen level for all years so we can offer a range of fuel price values. In the levelized cost of driving and emissions charts, this approach clearly distinguishes effects of fuels from those of vehicle technologies, because fuels remain constant while vehicle technologies change over time.
  • Fuels References: See fuels pages, especially for hydrogen, for a full description of fuels references, which include (Baronas and Chen, 2021)(Collins and Post, 2022a)(Collins and Post, 2022b)(DOE, 2023), and (Wang et al., 2022).

The data downloads include additional details of assumptions and calculations for each metric.


For detailed definitions, see:


Fuel cell electric vehicles

Fuel economy

Levelized cost of driving


Modeled Vehicle Price

Vehicle Range


The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.

Islam, Ehsan Sabri, Ram Vijayagopal, Benjamin Dupont, Namdoo Kim, Ayman Moawad, Daniela Nieto Prada, and Aymeric Rousseau. “A Comprehensive Simulation Study to Evaluate Future Vehicle Energy and Cost Reduction Potential.” Report to the US Department of Energy. Argonne National Laboratory, June 2022.

Wang, Michael, Amgad Elgowainy, Uisung Lee, Kwang Hoon Baek, Adarsh Bafana, Pahola Thathiana Benavides, Andrew Burnham, et al. “Summary of Expansions and Updates in GREET® 2022.” Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States), October 1, 2022.

Baronas, Jean, and Belinda Chen. “Joint Agency Staff Report on Assembly Bill 8: 2021 Annual Assessment of Time and Cost Needed to Attain 100 Hydrogen Refueling Stations in California.” CEC, December 2021.

Collins, Elizabeth, and Matthew Post. “Orange County Transportation Authority Fuel Cell Electric Bus Progress Report.” NREL, July 2022a.

Collins, Elizabeth, and Matthew Post. “SunLine Transit Agency Fuel Cell Electric Bus Progress Report.” NREL, July 2022b.

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