The California Fuel Cell Partnership in Sacramento, CA has put out a document called, “Progress and 2011 Actions for Bringing Fuel Cell Vehicles to the Early Commercial Market in California.” This document is an update of a similar one the CaFCP had put out in 2009 calling for specific actions to be taken to assure commercial rollout of hydrogen vehicles by 2017.
In January 2010, the CaFCP put out a Transition Plan which called for escalating the building of hydrogen fueling stations in a cluster model in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. The Early Commercial Market plan, however calls for putting these words into actions.
According to the newest plan, hydrogen fueling stations in these locations need to be quickly funded, built and put in retail operation. Potential consumers of hydrogen cars don’t want to see their local fueling stations under construction when they buy.
Station redundancy is also a consideration especially when putting up hydrogen fueling stations in geographical clusters. If one station is out of operation, there needs to be another one online nearby.
Another consideration is that the hydrogen at a fueling station must exceed demand. Potential consumers will be turned off if their local station seems to run out of fuel frequently. In addition, hydrogen fueling stations have to take into account peak demand which is in the mornings and evenings when most consumers fill up their vehicles.
According to CaFCP the new hydrogen fueling stations must be as close to current fossil fueling stations in regard to customer experience meaning, “ … 24/7 operating hours, no use agreements or classroom training requirements, and conventional payment methods.”
The operators of hydrogen fueling stations also need to have a clear understanding of the handling requirements for H2 and the path to profitability. Since hydrogen will be a retail fuel like any other fuel, the station owners need to make a profit.
This is just a short synopsis of the CaFCP document. For the full text please see the link provided.