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Frequently asked questions

10 Facts

10 Facts FAQs for the slider.

people follow @CaFCP on Twitter. Follow us!

sq miles of land in California

kilograms of hydrogen provide range comparable to a tank of gas

stations needed to start the FCEV market

members from industry, government and NGO make up CaFCP

year the California Fuel Cell Partnership was formed

22M

passenger vehicles are registered in California

24M

people have a California driver’s license

11k

gas stations in CA. We need 68 to offer hydrogen.

downloads of A California Road Map. Did you read it yet?

decibels fuel cells are about the same noise level as a refrigerator

NASA started using fuel cells in the space program

million cars could be powered by the H2 produced daily

58%

of hydrogen produced is used in refining gasoline

70

million gallons of H2 is transported by truck annually

50

years  hydrogen has been safely used as an industrial gas

year automakers will begin selling FCEVs in California

68%

efficiency for fuel cells compared to about 19% efficiency of internal combustion engines.

10

minutes or less to fill the tank of an FCEV

percent decrease in GHGs from well-to-wheels

FCEVs create nearly zero air pollution and use zero petroleum

CaFCP FAQs

Facts about CaFCP

CaFCP has a small staff with very few openings. We sometimes have short internships available for college students. Job and internship announcements are posted on our website.

We cannot provide sponsorships. The Fuel Cells 2000 database provides extensive information about programs that provide funding for fuel cell educational activities.

The student can send an email with very specific information to info@cafcp.org. Please describe your project and exactly what type of information you need from an interview.

CaFCP is our members. The automakers, energy companies, technology companies and government agencies jointly identify projects that need to happen in concert to move development forward. Staff from CaFCP’s member organizations execute the project with the support of CaFCP staff. We work together on the steps that bring FCEVs and hydrogen fuel to the commercial market, including community readiness, developing and supporting safety codes and standards, vehicle-station deployment planning and identifying funding mechanisms.

CaFCP is an industry-government collaboration. New members must be active in hydrogen or fuel cells in California and are invited by current members. We do not actively seek new members. For business opportunities, we recommend participating in the California Hydrogen Business Council.

FCEV FAQs

Facts about fuel cell electric vehicles

The Department of Energy sets targets for fuel cell cost, durability, efficiency and performance. Fuel cells and FCEVs have consistently met or exceeded the targets, even as R&D funding has diminished. Please see Accomplishments and Targets of DOE’s Fuel Cell Technology Program.

FCEVs are as safe as any vehicle on the road. CaFCP vehicle manufacturer members subject fuel cell vehicle models to extensive safety testing prior to releasing them on public roads. Current testing employs both destructive and non-destructive evaluations and occurs at the component, system, and vehicle level. FCEVs have specific safety systems that include hydrogen sensors, temperature activated pressure relief devices and ground-fault systems that isolate the fuel and the electricity when necessary. Read more about FCEV safety systems here.

FCEVs have range similar to their gasoline counterparts. Because FCEVs are so efficient, they need less fuel to go as far as a combustion vehicle or hybrid.

Honda and Mercedes-Benz are currently leasing vehicles in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Soon other automakers will have vehicles available and the lease program will expand to Berkeley/Emeryville area. Please visit the Makes and Models page for links to the automakers’ websites.

Automakers have not announced a price for the vehicles, other than stating they will be competitively priced. FCEVs are electric vehicles and, therefore, are eligible for federal and state rebates and tax incentives. FCEVs can also receive HOV stickers.

Automakers are introducing FCEVs to the commercial market beginning in 2015. Rollout of vehicles in California is heavily dependent on having enough stations to provide convenient access to fuel, as detailed in A California Roadmap.

In California, several hundred fuel cell passenger vehicles and transit buses are on the road today. Some vehicles are leased directly to customers, others are in fleet programs. Three transit agencies operate fuel cell buses in revenue service.

Hydrogen FAQs

Facts about hydrogen as a transportation fuel

Click here to read the information on our website about building stations. If you are currently in the fuel business and interested in adding hydrogen within the next two years, please email info@cafcp.org.

For more than 50 years, hydrogen has been produced and used for commercial and industrial purposes with an exemplary safety record. Like all fuels, hydrogen is flammable and has to be handled with care—just as we handle gasoline with care today. Unlike other fuels, it is very buoyant. With proper ventilation, hydrogen dissipates rapidly into the air, greatly reducing the chance of fire. Hydrogen is non-toxic, so if released it does not present a health hazard to humans and its effect on the environment is benign.

Every fuel requires more energy to make than it yields, and all fuels create some pollution. Well-to-wheels studies, which compare various fuel pathways and vehicle types, show that hydrogen produced from natural gas and used in a fuel cell vehicle is twice as efficient and 55% cleaner than gasoline through a conventional vehicles. Hydrogen produced from renewables is even better. For more information visit the Well-to-Wheels page on our web site.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and is found in water, natural gas and many other sources. It bonds with other elements to form commonly known molecules such as water, methane (natural gas) and methanol. Hydrogen is “produced” by unlocking the chemical bonds in the molecules that form these substances. Today, most hydrogen is made from natural gas, some from electrolysis of water and some from bio-methane. By making hydrogen from many difference sources, every region of the world can produce its own fuel, which is good for the environment and the local economy.

For more information visit the How it Works page.

The Department of Energy has a target cost for the fuel of $4/gge gasoline gallon equivalent (gallon gas equivalent.) Initially, the fuel will likely cost the same per mile as gasoline, but costs will come down over time. Dr. Sandy Thomas of Clean Car Options estimates the cost of hydrogen here.

Hydrogen stations are already in operation in California and more are under construction. Stations are in clusters in the communities where automakers expect to find their first customers. Additional stations, which we call connectors and destinations, provide FCEV drivers the ability to travel around the state. We project that 68 strategically placed stations by the beginning of 2016 will be enough to launch the commercial market.

Visit our Station Map for locations of existing and planned stations
Visit A California Roadmap for the roll-out plan

Technology FAQs

FAQ regarding the technology of fuel cells and hydrogen

It's possible, but not practical. Early in CaFCP's history, some automakers looked at reforming gasoline or methanol into hydrogen onboard the vehicles. Both processes worked, but added weight, complexity and cost to the vehicle. It's easier and more cost effective to produce the fuel at a central location.

Vehicles use a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, which creates electricity from a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cells are about 68% efficient, compared to about 19% efficiency of internal combustion engines. The only emission from a fuel cell is water vapor. For more information visit the How it Works page. For information about different types of fuel cells visit Fuel Cells 2000.

Fuel cells and batteries are similar because they use a chemical reaction to provide electricity. A battery stores the chemical reactants, usually metal compounds like lithium, zinc or manganese. Once used up, you must recharge or throw away the battery. A fuel cell creates electricity through reactants (hydrogen and oxygen) stored externally. A fuel cell will produce electricity as long as it has a fuel supply. In short, a fuel cell vehicle is refueled instead of recharged.

FCEVs create nearly zero air pollution, do not depend on petroleum and reduce greenhouse gasA gas in Earth's atmosphere that traps heat and can contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide and methane are two GHGs. emissions by 50-100%. In addition, FCEVs provide performance, range, refill time, durability and comfort similar to conventional vehicles. FCEVs are electric vehicles which ask for no compromise and provide people with a zero-emission car that fit their lifestyles.