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A California Road Map for Hydrogen Cars

The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has come up with a document called, “A California Road Map: Bringing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to the Golden State”. The document basically lays out a plan for building enough hydrogen fueling stations by 2015 and beyond to support the fuel cell vehicles that will be available for sale in that year.

I have now cherry-picked a few paragraphs from the CaFCP document that I think are extremely important:

  • Based on a variety of information, input and technical analysis from CaFCP members, including projections of fuel cell vehicle numbers and extensive marketing assessments by automakers, the road map identifies 68 strategically placed stations required to be operational by the beginning of 2016. Most of the stations are in five geographic clusters where a majority of early adopters are expected: Santa Monica/West Los Angeles, coastal Southern Orange County, and Torrance with nearby coastal cities, Berkeley, and San Francisco South Bay. Additional stations will connect these clusters into a regional network.”
  • If all stations are developed as planned from currently available funding California will have about 37 public hydrogen stations in 2015. These represent roughly half the stations needed for the initial commercial rollout.
  • Through a collaborative process substantiated by research, data and modeling, CaFCP members determined that a network of 68 stations operating statewide by 2015 will enable the launch of the early commercial market of 10,000-30,000 fuel cell electric vehicles.
  • Stations fell into geographic areas that stakeholders defined as cluster, connector and destination. These definitions serve as broad geographic descriptions of early market communities in which hydrogen stations are currently or will likely be located. Some of these areas may have more than one existing, forthcoming or recommended station. The goal is to increase the number of stations and geographic coverage to ensure a sufficient number of early adopters believes the infrastructure is adequate to consider purchasing a fuel cell electric vehicle.
  • Definitions

             Cluster – A small geographic area with a high percentage of potential early FCEV adopters.

             Connector – A city or community that links clusters and seeds new communities.

             Destination – A city or community that is a popular destination and seeds new communities.

             Market – An area that can include two or more clusters. Examples: Los Angeles County, San Francisco Bay Area.


Okay, now just browsing the map of the state of California my first impression is that we also need connectors in Bakersfield, Fresno and Redding plus a few in strategic locations along Interstate 5 between Los Angeles County and northern California. It would also help to have strategic locations for connectors along highways 1 and 101 on the west side of the state. And, one more connector I would like to throw in the mix is the city of Barstow to connect the Los Angeles and Riverside areas to the Las Vegas destination.

Las Vegas currently has 2 private hydrogen fueling stations, so they will need to make one public or build a public station in order to become a hydrogen fueling destination. True, Las Vegas isn’t inside of California. But like many other people, many drivers of hydrogen cars will want to go on a road trip to Vegas, so this should be considered a destination as well as a seedling for a cluster at least in the larger scheme of planning down the road.

Here is the Overview and Technical Version of the document previously described.


About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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One comment

  1. Michael C. Robinson

    The fueling stations that dispense gaseous hydrogen at 10k or 5k PSI are pretty expensive. Isn’t going with a hydride technology both cheaper and safer?

    How is Plasma Kinetics coming along with their laser metal hydride technology? The hydrogen stream doesn’t have to be highly pressurized.

    Since the U.S. mostly hasn’t moved at all on hydrogen refueling infrastructure, now is the time to adopt fuel cell vehicles that will require less infrastructure.
    Home based refueling and solar to hydrogen should seemingly be the focus now. If fuel cell cars don’t require expensive infrastructure that as of yet doesn’t exist, they can be adopted faster.

    I bet laser metal hydrides are cheaper than 5K and 10K PSI high pressure hydrogen gas tanks.

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