On December 2, the California Air Resources Board held a public input workshop to discuss The Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment Commitment. Bill Elrick attended the meeting and presented a statement that the highest priority for hydrogen and FCEVs is to increase the number of stations in the state at a faster pace. In addition to CaFCP’s comments, other stakeholders highlighted the need for hydrogen investment. ARB is accepting comments electronically until December 16th.
At the workshop, ARB stated that ZEV infrastructure and public awareness are the priorities for the first 30-month funding period, and stated that they want VW to make hydrogen-related investments. ARB is also urging VW to make early, visible progress and to be complementary and additional to existing investments being made in California. Several BEV supporters specifically stated that the funds should only be for BEVs and that ARB’s guiding document should state that hydrogen is not eligible.
VW controls the settlement funds. The VW team will submit a Draft ZEV Investment Plan to the Air Resources Board by February 22, 2017 with proposed projects and estimated costs. ARB will refer to the guiding document that is under development and then approve the plan in whole or in part.
Submit your comments to ARB for consideration in the guiding document before December 16th, 2016.
CaFCP comments during December 2nd VW Settlement Workshop:
Thank you, Analisa
On behalf of the members of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, we appreciate that ARB is including hydrogen in the first phase of VW settlement funding. As you know, in less than one year nearly 1,000 people have leased or purchased an FCEV and this week station number 24 opened in Anaheim.
As you look at the Volkswagen plan on February 22 as it applies to hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles, we’d like to offer the following considerations:
- Quickly expanding the number of hydrogen stations is the single most important element for increasing FCEV deployment. The VW settlement money can leverage the ARFVTP funding and make it go farther by building more stations, faster. The state’s own analysis through AB8 highlights insufficient hydrogen infrastructure and supply in the near term—which would be the greatest hindrance to consumer adoption of fuel cell ZEVs. The VW settlement could also support expanding renewable hydrogen, building stations for transit buses and trucks, and supporting testing devices that can significantly reduce the time needed to commission stations.
- Public awareness of vehicles and stations is also vital. CaFCP and it’s members are introducing a public awareness campaign in early 2017—Powered by the fastest molecule on Earth—and ask that the VW plan cover dissemination of this campaign as well as the three plug-in advertising campaigns discussed at the PEV Collaborative meeting.
- Finally, we would recommend that the VW plan target education. In particular, technician training for fuel cell cars and buses, and hydrogen stations such as the accredited program offered by Rio Hondo Community College. We see expanding this program to other community college campuses will help the industry grow, and having a trained labor force is a proven driver of economic development.
CaFCP and its members are very interested in partnering with ARB to ensure that the VW plan is complementary of other investments, as impactful as possible, and generates data that will be beneficial in growing fuel cell ZEV deployment in California. We appreciate ARB’s history of enabling all ZEV technologies and avoiding picking winners and losers, letting the marketplace and customers determine the best approaches to a clean transportation market.