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California Energy Commission proposes awarding $8.9M for completion of California DC fast charge North-South corridors (corrected)

The staff of the California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected 8 awardees for a total of $8,875,457 in proposed funding to install Direct Current (DC) fast charging stations on Interstate 5 (I-5), State Route 99 (SR 99), and along United States Highway 101 (US-101) from San Jose traveling South in California.

The awards stem from a solicitation released in July 2015 (GFO-15-601), with the overall objective of completing the West Coast Electric Highway which stretches from British Columbia to Baja California. CEC received a total of 35 proposals requesting a combined $39,159,298. The proposed awards will come up for an approval vote by the Commission sometime before July.

The solicitation defined 7 primary and 2 secondary corridor segments. While both primary and secondary segments required networked charging equipment (EVSE), the primary segment required at least one CHAdeMO fast charger, one SAE CCS Fast Charger and one J1772-compliant Level 2 charger or one dual unit with both CHAdeMO AND SAE CCS connectors and (1) J1772-compliant Level 2 charger either as a separate unit or integrated.

Secondary segment solutions were required to have one CHAdeMO fast charger and (1) J1772-compliant level 2 charger, although proposals also including an SAE CCS fast charger scored higher.

Corridor Categories
Primary Secondary
  1. I-5: Oregon Border to Red Bluff
  2. I-5: South of Red Bluff to north of Sacramento
  3. SR 99: South of Sacramento and north of Fresno
  4. SR 99: Fresno to north of Wheeler Ridge
  5. US-101: San Jose to Buellton
  6. I-5: Wheeler Ridge to Santa Clarita
  7. I-5: San Clemente to Oceanside
  1. SR 99: South of Red Bluff to north of Sacramento
  2. I-5: South of Sacramento to north of Wheeler Ridge
Primary Primary

ChargePoint has been proposed to receive three awards (segments 1, 6 and 9) for a total of $3,739,615, or 42% of the funding. EV Connect also received the nod for three awards (segments 3, 4 and 7) for a total of $1,843,179 (21%).

NRG EV Services was selected for two awards (segments 2 and 8) worth a combined $1,659,928 (19%). Recharge was selected for one award (segment 5) worth $1,632,735 (18%).

In January, the California Energy Commission release a new solicitation (GFO-15-603) for DC fast chargers for California’s interregional corridors.



How many quick charge (under 10 minutes) facilities will be installed?

California, unlike any other US state or Canadian province, is actually going to give drivers that choice, Harvey. A $200+ million experiment to see which people buy (and which industry actually builds, after much boasting).

So far the score is 400,000 EVs to ~200 FCVs in the US.

36 EVs for sale or lease this year in California, according to the latest Electric Car Insider EV Buyers Guide. Leases priced from $139. PHEVs with range > 400 miles and quick refueling.

2 FCVs for sale or lease. Leases starting at $499.

Sure will be interesting to see how this all turns out.


EV makers, utilities and other corporations could work together to help make this happen. If you look at Tesla superchargers in California, they are out on the highways for trips.


What was the monthly rental fee for the first mass produced EV (from GM) in 1999 and 2016 USD?

Was it very similar to the first mass produced FCEV from Toyota in 2016 USD?

It's irrelevant, Harvey. It's not 1999 anymore.

H2 FCVs will have to compete in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019...

Right now today in the era of 420 mile PHEVs (with heater and defroster running full blast). Within one year in the era of 200 mile $35k EVs.

If FCVs compete effectively, they will have a place on the roads. If they don't, they'll be interesting museum pieces.


"It's not 1999 anymore"
To show inflation and/or price reductions, you look at history.
It does not help the discussion to be dismissive.

Yes, I am looking at the history of the H2 industry and it is none too inspiring.

Dozens of H2 stations rolled out ten years ago in California, only to be shuttered a few years later. CEC pulling funding from grantees because of lack of performance on their contracts.

I believe First Element is trying to do a good job, but let's hear first hand from the CEO Joel Ewanick from his twitter feed:

"Hydrogen Stations, "finally" opening, it's harder 2 build than it looks! 6 Open and 6 more in a few weeks "

It's difficult. That is the unfortunate reality.

LA Times article from a few months ago:
"Fuel cell cars and filling stations are slow to arrive"

"We might have 50 or 60 stations, and still be under 500 cars — in all of California!" said independent hydrogen fuel station builder Dan Poppe, who said he is filling 11 to 13 cars a day. "How can a station operator make it, or attract investors, if the cars aren't going to be here?"

"Those who worry that the slow arrival of stations implies a lack of U.S. enthusiasm for the technology are urged to look to Japan. Toyota's Scott said there were to have been 80 filling stations built in Japan by now, according to earlier predictions. There are only 20."

"This is a huge shift, a paradigm shift," Scott said. "It's going to take a lot of time, and effort."


It is not either/or, EVs and FCVs can coexist. The market will decide what people want and are willing to pay for. More hydrogen filling stations are being built and brought into operation. Interesting prediction "only to be shuttered a few years later", we will see what happens, then come back to ask for comments.

SJC> EVs and FCVs can coexist ... market will decide

Yes, that is the point I've made, so we agree about that. The issue is economic viability. How does a station stay in business if it's only earning a fraction of what it will take to service its financing cost?

The numbers are very tough for the H2 station operators. About ten cars per station in the first few years. Estimate 5kg H2 dispensed per car per week. At $13.50/kg retail, probably not much more than 50% margin. Even if it were $10/kg margin, that's still only $2,000 / month top line income, $24k / year on a $4,000,000 investment. Does not even come close to covering the finance costs which are probably a few hundred thousand at commercial rates (shorter term, higher interest).

SJC> Interesting prediction "only to be shuttered..."

That wasn't a prediction. That was an observation about a historical fact. Ten years ago, CEC pulled the funding from H2 station operators because they failed to perform on their grant. There were a couple dozen stations built. Free money from the state and they couldn't even keep them open. It was a scandal at the time.


'start ups' are not very profitable in the first few years and the majority fold. Look at TESLA, still having huge deficits after 5+ years.

Typical H2 stations will have many more customers (20X to 500X) in 2 to 5 years from now, starting in Japan, Germany, So Korea and California + Oregon + Washington States and BC?

My great grand father had to use a horse to get a few gallons of gas from the neighboring town gas station when his ICEV gas tank was running too low. Five years latter, a gas station was next door.

History will repeat with H2 stations for FCEVs.


History can be used to imply the future.

No evidence that H2 stations will have 200-5,000 customers each in 5 years. FCV OEMs are not predicting that. Not even close.

Please cite any credible source that there will be 250,000 FCVs in California within 5 years.

Toyota is not prepared to lose $12.5 billion on priming the market for FCVs. No one else is either.

GM, Diamler, both recently said they do not expect FCVs in mass production before 2020. That's the earliest a ramp would start. Keep in mind that these are two companies that actually have H2 programs.

Meanwhile, almost all OEMs are building PHEVs and longer range BEVs.

We agree that history will repeat. But I believe it will be the sordid, failed history of H2, not the success (and infamy) of gasoline.


I looked up the supposed hydrogen station closings, could not find them. The CEC withdrew grant funding in 2012, which stopped the building of some, but they funded $50 million in 2014 to build more.

As for the number of stations in the future, that is a straw man. The ratio of cars to gas pump is about 200 to 1. If that ratio is maintained for hydrogen we might need 100 to service 20,000 FCVs, which is the target for the CEC.


"Hydrogen fuel at 5,000 psi costs $4.99 per kilogram and H2 fuel at 10,000 psi costs $5.99 per kilogram."
Constantly quoting a price of $13+ does not seem totally accurate.

Have you ever been to any H2 station in California, SJC? Why not post the full quote from Kevin Kantola's blog:

"This station had the cheapest prices for fuel of the four that I reviewed."

First Element at Harris Ranch is $16.50 kg.

Diamond Bar is $13.50 kg. Most others are very close to that.


Then come up with a listing and average price. You have not responded to the supposed closure of hydrogen stations. If you are going to make a statement, back it up.

SJC> I looked up the supposed hydrogen station closings, could not find them.

So you did a poor job of researching and would like me to do it for you. Nope.
I've already posted twice as many hydrogen pump prices as you did, with locations and qualifications, which you omitted.

I think readers can draw their own conclusions from the quality of our respective posts.

By the way, if you think H2 can be sold on scale for $5.99 per kg, what do you suppose the margin will be? Even if we very generously guess $1 (retail margin on gasoline is 5-10% of that) the gross income of that $4m H2 station is $48,000 per year based on your 200 cars per station estimate. That's before rent, maintenance, administrative overhead, debt service.

Who do you know that invests $4,000,000 to earn $48k before expenses?


Transition from dirty ICEVs to cleaner BEVs and FCEVs will be costly, specially in the first decade or so (2010 to 2020 for BEVs and 2015 to 2025 for FCEVs).

Mass production, technical advancements and breakthroughs, increased competition and the true cost of added GHG and pollution by ICEVs will make both technologies (BEVs + FCEVs) very competitive around/after 2025.

After 2025 many BEVs and FCEVs will be cheaper to buy and operate then equivalent ICEVs when 10+ years and 240,000+ Km of normal use are duly considered.

I agree Harvey. Except if FCVs are not cost competitive, and do not truly solve the CO2 problem (steam reforming methane won't do it) FCVs are not going to fare well in the marketplace or acheive their environmental goals. They are already getting higher subsidies for no apparent good reason - they're no better for the environment or consumer.

I think we'll know the outcome sooner than 2025. The only advantage an FCV has over a PHEV like the Volt is theoretical, depending entirely on where it's fuel come from. If we're down to 10% liquid fuels by that time, we may be able close that gap with CO2 neutral synfuels.

If we do, there would be little justification for replacing a trillion dollar liquid fuels infrastructure.


Our area (grid) has a surplus of clean hydro + wind for up to 2027 and more. Our neighboring States and Provinces are currently buying our clean energy (for under $0.05/kWh) at the rate of a bit over $1B/year but it is not enough. Exports would have to be doubled.

Alternatively, the surplus could energise a few hundred large clean H2 stations and as many quick charge e-stations for 2 to 5 million FCEVs and BEVs respectively.

If/when many more H2/e-charging stations are built, more hydro + wind could be developed to satisfy added demands. H2 massive storage is another way to temporary reduce our surpluses, specially if some of the stored H2 is used to produce clean energy to meet peak demands.

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