34. Fast Cars, Fast Company

“There was nothing we could buy in the marketplace that we wanted to drive — a fast, powerful car that’s clean-burning and sexy and cool at the same time,” says D. Cole Frates. So he built it. Last June, just a year after its founding, HCC released its first car — the Hydrogen Shelby Cobra, a sleek, $100,000 sports car. Frates’s team modified the classic internal combustion engine to run on compressed hydrogen, which produces no carbon emissions. Beyond technical hurdles, Frates has had to steer the engine through California’s treacherous regulatory bodies. HCC has a long drive ahead — it’s still limited to California, too many people associate hydrogen with bombs and the Hindenburg, and big automakers are gaining on him — but Frates is off to a fast start.


D. Cole Frates, 36

Cofounder and president
Hydrogen Car Co.
Los Angeles, California