Daniel Krach of Newport Beach, California was lucky enough to get behind the wheel for three months in a Chevy Equinox Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. In fact, Krach refuels his vehicle at the UC, Irvine campus at the same location that I took a page full of photographs a year and a half ago.
According to Mr. Krach, he felt a bit shackled by the lack of familiar H2 fueling stations as he had yet to be trained on the refueling process until several days after accepting the keys. In addition, Krach had to cut short a visit with a friend in Los Angeles in order to make it back to the Irvine station with only three miles to spare on the compressed hydrogen tank.
I drove this same vehicle a couple of years ago and agree that it is quiet with plenty of power compared to other similar hydrogen vehicles. The trouble Mr. Krach was having was not with the Chevy but with locations of the six semi-private hydrogen fueling stations in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas that were not open all hours. Fortunately, Mr. Krach says he only lives a couple of miles from the UC Irvine station that is on the corner of Jamboree Blvd. and Campus Drive, and is open 24 / 7.
According to Krach, “But the way I see it, the key is to start building those hydrogen filling stations – now. With the experience I’ve had driving this vehicle these past few weeks, I’m eagerly awaiting the day I can buy one. But I certainly don’t want limitations on how far I can go.” And, GM VP Larry Burns is in agreement, since in April 2008 he said regulators were to blame for the slow rollout of hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
And, such goes the Achilles heal of the hydrogen car rollout. If political consultant James Carville were trying to get hydrogen vehicles elected as the next zero-emission car of choice in this country, he may say something like, “It’s the infrastructure, stupid.” This would be the major point we need to focus our time, energy and attention upon and make sure that our candidates are onboard with this same vision as well.