A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used. Fuel cells are different from batteries in that they require a constant source of fuel and oxygen/air to sustain the chemical reaction, they can however produce electricity continually for as long as these inputs are supplied.
Although there are currently no Fuel cell vehicles available for commercial sale, over 20 FCEVs prototypes and demonstration cars have been released since 2009. Demonstration models include the Honda FCX Clarity, Toyota FCHV-adv, and Mercedes-Benz F-Cell. As of June 2011 demonstration FCEVs had driven more than 4,800,000 km (3,000,000 mi), with more than 27,000 refuelings. Demonstration fuel cell vehicles have been produced with “a driving range of more than 400 km (250 mi) between refueling”. They can be refueled in less than 5 minutes.