BEV vs. Hydrogen fuel cell Battery Electric Vehicles Hydrogen Fuel Cell How does an electric vehicle work? As opposed to a combustion engine, an EV uses electricity from a battery rather than the combustion of fuel to power the engine. The capacity of the battery determines the EV's range (how far it can go on a single charge of the battery). How does a fuel cell vehicle work? Cars powered by hydrogen are also considered EVs because oxygen and hydrogen are converted to electric energy, which then powers the electric motor with a battery. They can also recapture the energy that is lost during braking and store it in a battery.