I was wondering if there is an explanation why in the final fight scene of T1, there was no explosion? Clearly the hydraulic press completely crushed the terminator unit and this should have compromised the hydrogen fuel cell.

Terminator being crushed

If anything it would result in a explosion like this (picture from the T3 sequel just after terminator threw out the damaged hydrogen fuel cell) and blow up Sarah Conor along with the whole factory.

Hydrogen fuel cell explosion T3


The short answer is that the original T-800 Terminator is powered by a different kind of fuel cell.

According to the official Novelisation and the official Terminator Card game (given away at movie showings), the Terminator seen in the first film contains an Iridium Nuclear Fuel Cell which is evidently non-explosive when crushed or exposed to high temperatures.

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It isn't until we meet the (upgraded) T-850 that we see the new and improved hydrogen fuel cells. These provide substantially more power but evidently have a tendency to go boom when compromised.

  • A true Terminator fan :) didn't now about the novels. Thanks for the great answer.
    – Rene
    May 21 '15 at 19:58
  • 5
    @ReneBrakus - You're not a true fan until you've read all the trading cards :-)
    – Valorum
    May 21 '15 at 20:02

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