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A California Road Map

Like any emerging technology, hydrogen stations and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have presented a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma: Which comes first? In working to bring the vehicles and stations to market, CaFCP has learned that stations must come before vehicles, and they must be customer-friendly locations that are convenient to home and work. Existing gas and compressed natural gas stations are ideal locations, but people will not drive too far out of their way to fuel. Research has shown that six minutes from home or the office to a gas station is the maximum acceptable travel time. In addition, before consumers will replace their current vehicle with an FCEV, they want fueling options in their favorite destinations, like Palm Springs, Napa and Lake Tahoe.

"A California Road Map: Bringing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles to the Golden State," describes the infrastructure that will be needed to successfully launch the commercial FCEV market. By 2016, California should have 68 hydrogen stations throughout the state to serve the thousands of FCEV drivers expected in the early years of commercialization.

Where to launch?

Drawing on research and using the latest computer modeling tools, CaFCP members recommend that stations be built in five geographic clusters where the first customers are likely to live. These cluster communities are:

  • Berkeley
  • South San Francisco Bay Area
  • Santa Monica and West LA
  • Torrance and nearby coastal communities
  • Irvine and southern Orange County

Additional “connector” and “destination” stations in cities like Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Barbara and San Diego will connect the clusters into a regional network.

Where are we now?

About half of the 68 stations are open, in planning or have funding committed. An additional $65 million will provide support to build and operate stations until they become profitable.

 

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