March 2017 Hydrogen Station Update Webinar Questions & Answers

You can find the video recording from the webinar here and presentation PDF here.

Questions About Vehicles

Which cars are available now and are more coming?

The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, Toyota Mirai, and Honda Clarity are available at select dealerships in California. Mercedes has announced that a fuel cell plug-in, the GLC F-CELL car coming in 2017, but hasn’t released details yet.

If a customer orders a car today, what is the wait time to get the car?

It varies by vehicle and location, but in many cases the cars are in stock at the dealership.

Are the cars mostly from foreign car makers? Assembled here in USA? What about the American car companies?

GM, Nissan, and Volkswagen and the previously mentioned automakers are all CaFCP members. Most build their fuel cell vehicles in overseas factories, but do much of their R&D in the US as well as other countries. Honda and GM announced in January that they will build a factory to manufacture fuel cells in Michigan.

Joe showed a chart that displays the FCEV sales and lease numbers. Is it possible breakdown the cars by Northern and Southern California? provides a monthly sales dashboard of all alternative vehicles, but doesn’t offer geographic details. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project provides a heat map of rebates for ZEVs, but doesn’t differentiate between plug-ins and fuel cells.  At this point, we don’t know the distribution of FCEVs. (OEMs would have this information but most likely will keep it internal.)

Questions About Fueling with Hydrogen

How long does fueling take?

Filling a car with compressed gaseous hydrogen takes less than five minutes. Watch our short video to see how to fuel a car.

What is the difference between H35 and H70?

The numbers refer to pressure. H35 is 35 megaPascals (5,000 psi) and H70 is 70 megaPascals (10,000 psi). When the current batch of stations were funded, some FCEVs could only use the lower pressure fuel. Now all cars operate at H70 and the new stations may not offer H35 fueling.

How much does the fuel cost?

It ranges between $10 and $16.78 per kilogram. FCEVs currently on the market have a hydrogen storage capacity of about 5 kilograms. Although FCEVS are two-to-three times as efficient as a gasoline car, this is still more than gasoline on a per-mile basis. Fuel cost will decrease as more vehicles are using the stations. Because the automakers don’t want fuel cost to be a barrier to vehicle adoption, they all provide free fuel with the car.

What is the different between a retail and non-retail station?

Retail stations accept credit card payment. A few stations currently operating were built before the technology to accept credit card payment was required to be integrated in the dispenser. Two automakers, Hyundai and Mercedes, worked with the station operator to create an alternate payment system. Currently, the non-retail stations serve just a few customers who had their FCEVs before any of the 26 retail stations opened. Most of the non-retail stations are planned to be upgraded so that all customers can use the stations.

Please explain renewable hydrogen.

Hydrogen can be produced and delivered to stations in several different ways. In California, 33% of hydrogen for transportation must come from renewable sources. We have some stations that make hydrogen onsite using electrolysis of water. 

Regardless of how the hydrogen is made, FCEVs powered by hydrogen significantly reduce GHG emissions and have almost zero criteria air pollutants.

Questions About Station Funding

How are hydrogen stations funded?

The California Energy Commission administers the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicles Technology Program (ARFVTP) that provides funding to all alternative fuels through a competitive grants process. Legislation requires that ARFVTP provide $20 million a year until at least 100 hydrogen stations are open in the State. In addition, California’s air districts have the option to use Carl Moyer funds for local hydrogen station funding.

Will funding continue when Gov. Brown leaves office?

Yes. Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicles Technology Program (ARFVTP) was enacted by legislation, not executive order.

Is there an impact from President Trump?

Federal changes won’t affect California state legislation, or the State’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. It’s too early to draw conclusions about federal impacts.

Questions About Station Construction

How long does it take to build a station?

Think of station construction in four phases:

  • Grant contracting and station design
  • Initial permit filing to approval to build
  • Construction
  • Confirmation

The time to build many of the hydrogen stations that opened in 2016 ranged from about 18 to 24 months, with some taking longer. With each group of stations we learn where the process can be improved to help stations open faster.

Please see the 2016 Joint Agency Staff Report on AB 8 for more information about station timelines.

If a new site is coming up, do you work with the local planning departments?

The California Fuel Cell Partnership and the Governor’s Office of Business Development work with all cities to help the plan review phase move as smoothly as possible. We meet individually with city and county officials, provide training about codes and standards to permitting officials (often called Authorities Having Jurisdiction), conduct training for emergency responders, and conduct public outreach. Our companion website provides many resources about building hydrogen stations.

Did companies that proposed new hydrogen station already select their vendors?

If you are interested in providing components or services to hydrogen station developers, please contact Joe Gagliano at

Can a station be upgraded to store more hydrogen?

Yes. It is possible for recently opened retail stations to add storage capacity as demand increases, but only a few have space to add another dispenser. Adding storage most likely doesn’t require the same approval process from the city, but may still require permits and inspections just as every construction project does.

Questions About Specific Stations

When will the San Ramon station open? The station map says Q2, but it looks like it’s ready now?

The station is undergoing confirmation testing. We’ll update the station map with more exact dates as we receive the information from the station developer.

What are the statuses of the following stations?

Station Station Status
Chino Project is on hold per equipment agreement issues
Harbor City Station was funded before ARFVTP was available and operated for several years longer than planned and will close permanently on 3/31/17. The station operator applied for new funding.
Burbank Will be upgraded. Station operator is working on agreements.
CalState LA Station was funded before ARFVTP was available as a living classroom. CEC and South Coast AQMD are exploring options with the university to obtain potential funding for upgrades. The university is working with stakeholders to develop an upgrade proposal.
Torrance Is closed while being upgraded to a retail station. A temporary fueler is available at the site with limited fueling.








Questions About Future Locations

Are stations planned for Palos Verdes, the South Bay, on university campuses, on the way to Las Vegas, along Highway 99, Redding, Chico, along Highway 1, Santa Cruz, and other locations?

Eventually, we hope to see stations everywhere. Station deployment planning is an important process that considers many factors. The goal is to ensure that people can drive their FCEV as they do a conventional vehicle, but we also need to ensure that the early stations have enough customers to make some business sense. The California Air Resources Board created a GIS planning tool, CHIT, to help determine coverage gaps.

This map identified priority areas that are most needed to expand the hydrogen station network and these will change as the when the new stations are added to the network.

What are the plans for stations in states neighboring California?

CaFCP and its members have been focused on getting the station network started in California first. The Governor’s Office of Business Development is starting to work with other states. We’ll include progress on this topic in future webinar updates. We did see proposed legislation in Nevada directing the Nevada DOT to start a hydrogen station deployment plan.

Questions About the 16 Proposed Stations

What were the requirements for new stations? Capacity? Redundancy?

Please see GFO-15-605 for details.

It also required that proposers use CHIT to assess location.

The main differences that we noted in this grant funding opportunity were that H35 was an option, not a requirement and the number of back-to-back fills increased from three to five per hour. After the Energy Commission approves the award at an upcoming business meeting, more information about the stations will be available, including the source of hydrogen and renewable content.

Will California or CaFCP sponsor small fuelers, like the winner of DOE’s H2 Refuel H-Prize Challenge.

CaFCP doesn’t sponsor stations. The Energy Commission has awarded funding for temporary fueling in the past. As we all learn more about the SimpleFuel, CaFCP members will consider how it fits into deployment planning.

Questions About SOSS

What is SOSS?

The Station Operational Status System is a near real-time reporting tool for hydrogen station customers. Every few minutes, each station sends a signal to the SOSS database the reports that the station is online and has fuel. The SOSS database pushes that status to subscribing software, including the systems that the automakers provide and our own mobile website at and our station map.

Station Operational Status System (SOSS) diagram


How does a station get on SOSS?

Stations funded by ARFVTP are required to be on SOSS. All the stations under development in the Northeast will be on SOSS. All a station developer needs to do is ask.

What does the “Limited” status mean?

It means that you might not get a full fill or the fill might be very slow. We don’t see Limited very often. It usually occurs when several vehicles have filled back to back and the pressure in the storage bank is low. Usually, the bank is refilled in less than 10 minutes and the Limited status returns to Online status.

Can you see how much renewable hydrogen is at the station from SOSS?

Not currently, but you can see how the hydrogen is produced and delivered. You can find how much renewable hydrogen at a station on our H2 Station Map sister site

Do you plan to add price to SOSS and the station map?

It’s on our list of fields to add, but not likely this year. Every field requires a programming change and we’re currently focusing on changes such as geo-locating the station list (so that it displays the stations nearest to you instead of alphabetical) and several user interface changes.