Fuel cell vehicles should be further improved. Key issues are cost reduction; higher power density of the primary energy converter, the fuel cell; wider operation ranges and improvement of operation parameters, e.g. higher operation temperature and starting ability in freezing conditions. Using advanced materials and construction principles is a key factor by meeting these requirements. The paper gives a short introduction to the technology of fuel cell vehicles and the most prominent fuel cell type for traction applications, the polymer-electrolyte-membrane fuel cell (PEFC). Progress in material development of a core component of the PEFC, the bipolar plate is described. In the second part of the paper some ideas are presented, in which way material research could help to enable suitable on-board storages for hydrogen. Namely, a new approach to design compressed gas storages and new developments in materials for solid state hydrogen storage are brought to attention.