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Toyota to provide financial assistance to FirstElement for construction of H2 refueling network in California

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) and its affiliate Toyota Motor Credit Corporation (TMCC) have entered into a group of financial agreements with FirstElement Fuel Inc. (FE) to support the long-term operation and maintenance expenses of new hydrogen refueling stations in California.

FirstElement was selected by the California Energy Commission for a proposed award of $2,902,000 to construct two 100% renewable refueling stations in Los Angeles, and $24,667,000 for 17 stations in other key locations in California. (Earlier post.) Toyota’s actual amount of financial assistance will be based on an analysis of the grant award to FirstElement by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Notice of Proposed Awards (NOPA) announced yesterday, and final approval of the NOPA, anticipated in June.

In accordance with the terms of the agreement with Toyota, FirstElement will work to develop an integrated and reliable network of fueling stations across California in target market locations approved by Toyota, and consistent with the California Fuel Cell Partnership Road Map.

The first few years here in California will be a critical period for hydrogen fuel cell technology. California has stepped up with the offer to invest $200 million dollars to build 100 stations, and through this financial arrangement with FirstElement, Toyota is showing its full commitment to deploy zero emission fuel cell vehicles here in California. Perhaps most importantly, we are showing the future owners of this amazing technology that Toyota is helping to ensure that hydrogen refueling will be available, no matter what car brand is on the hood.

—Bob Carter, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor Sales, USA,

TMS also announced that Linde LLC plans to build a hydrogen fueling station on TMS-owned property located in San Ramon, California, adjacent to Toyota’s San Francisco Regional Office and Parts Distribution Center. This location would serve local and regional customers, as well as serve as an important connector site between the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and the San Francisco Bay Area.

This is just a start, but it’s the first step in getting to the point in the near future where this technology will move into the mainstream.

—Bob Carter

FirstElement is planning stations in Campbell, Coalinga, Costa Mesa, Hayward, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, La Canada Flintridge, Long Beach, Mill Valley, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Saratoga, South Pasadena, South San Francisco, Redwood City and Truckee.



As a reminder, these are the stations which detractors said would never be built, and fuelling cars that they claimed could not be produced at any cost which would see any substantial numbers on the road.

Both notions were based on looking at prototype costs, and deciding that they represented the true costs of the technologies of building hydrogen stations and fuel cell cars on a mass basis.

Both ideas are not too bright, and were only advanced because some folk hated the tecnology as they thought batteries could do everything, and could be powered by solar cells everywhere.


FCEVs and BEVs could co-exist for many decades for cars and light trucks.

FCs may be around for a very long time for heavier long range vehicles to replace current diesel units.

Developing and using both 'Quick Charge e-stations and 5 minutes H2 stations' will be relatively cheap when cost is spread out over 20 years or so.

BEV/PHEV and FCEV manufacturers could joint together to support installation cost. Operation cost will be supported by end users.

For information, here are the latest stats for G-8 industrial nations on 'per capita' tonnes per year GHG and variation since 1990:

1. USA = 22.2, +14.8% (*)
2. Canada = 19.9, +18.3%
3. Russia = 16.4, -29.0%
4. Germany = 11.3, -22.3%
5. Japan = 10.2, +6.6%
6. UK = 10.1, -16.8%
7. France = 8.4, +0.2%
8. China = 7.8, +198.3% (**)

(**) That's what happens when manufacturing is transferred to China.

a. Alberta = 62.0, +46.5% (it may be 2X more) (***)
b. B.C. = 13.2, +21.7%
c. Ontario = 12.3, -5.6%
d. Quebec = 9.6, -6.8%
e. R0C = 29.7, +30.7%
f. Canada = 19.9, +18.3%

(***) That's what you get with Tar Sands operations.

(*) Poster who think that USA has clean up its act should think again.



I quick scan of the history files here will show who said FCVs would never happen. It is good to replay those facts so the egoists can back pedal and say they were misunderstood.


Why would a country like USA, who spent about $4,000 billion in the last 6 years or so to pull major banks, financial institutions and major manufacturers like GM etc out of bankruptcy could not offer loans at 0.1% interest for 20 years duration to install :

1. 100,000 quick charge e-stations @ $250K = $25 B

2. 100,000 H2 stations @ $1 million each = $100 B

To print another $125B over 5 years, (about $2B/month) for two essential national projects would be beneficial for USA and the world.

Alternatively, stopping Oil wars for 5 years could finance all the above stations.

End users would pay for all on-going operation cost.


About the cost of the 1st year of the Iraq war. We won't do it because we like wars, particularly oil wars, and these projects will not benefit big oil. However, I bet the Europeans would consider it.

Roger Pham


No need for 100,000 H2 stations for the USA. Only about 500 to 1,000 H2 stations will be needed initially for the entire continental USA and Canada, when the number of FCV's will be small. Still, with about 1,000 H2 filling stations, the average distance from home to an H2 filling station will be only about 5 miles in urban and suburban areas.

Total initial investment cost necessary for H2 filling infrastructure at the roll-out of FCV's will be only $500 millions to about 1.5 billions USD. Just a drop in the bucket in comparison to the total annual expenditure on motor fuels of hundreds of billions of USD. This relatively small budget can easily be financed entirely on PRIVATE investment w/out requiring any public money.

As more people will buy FCV's, more H2 stations will be opened using private investments as market can support, w/out any government support.


Yes RP, 1,000 H2 stations (an average of 20 stations per State) could be enough for a minimum very thin layer for the very first year. However, it would have to grow by 5,000 to 10,000 new stations a year in the post 2020 era.

The same should apply to quick charge E-Stations installations. The build up could be sooner and faster.

Roger Pham

How fast the H2 stations will grow in number will depend on how quickly the public will adopt FCV. But, even at 1,000 stations initially, the average driving distance to a station will be 5 miles or less from home. This is entirely reasonable, since this is equal to or less than our driving distance for grocery and other type of shopping. The nearest supermarkets and department stores are not necessary the best, but H2 is all the same everywhere, and will cost much less than petroleum per mile driven.



Passive-aggressive much?

Nobody said H2 stations wouldn't be built. Prototype H2 stations have been around for a while, and the technology is over 150 years old. The argument revolves around whether or not they should be built.

The main objection to H2 is that it is more expensive and dirtier than batteries. It's also more expensive and dirtier than running cars on NG (which is where 99% of commercial H2 comes from).

I don't see how the fact that Toyota has spent less than the cost of a Superbowl ad on a couple of stations changes the debate. Toyota is betting on all the runners in this field, using money they earn by selling gas-guzzling SUVs. It's excellent PR, and it helps divert attention from 14 mpg Sequoias (9 mpg city when using E85!).


The difference is that you would need in excess of 90,000 H2 stations to have H2 at every current gasoline service station, while a mere 1000 fast chargers would put one every 50 miles along the entire Interstate system and most charging would be done at home.

1000 Tesla Superchargers @$150k ea. = $150 million.  This is 0.15% of Harvey's figure for H2 stations.  The systems of a Supercharger should be sufficient for DC fast charging of most other EVs, such as the Leaf.  At 50 miles per leg you could go anywhere in a Leaf, albeit slowly.

The environmental problem with H2 is that its cheapest sources are steam methane reforming and coal gasification, neither with carbon capture.  Leakage of natural gas is a major issue for the climate.  If we don't use H2, we don't have to worry about its makers cutting corners.


Clean electricity (hydro - Solar - Wind - Nuke) + water = clean H2


This website blog is way better then autobloggreen as here we can talk about hydrogen in a good manner. There is ton of hydrogen naysayer at autobloggreen but not here. Congrat and keep up the good work.

Roger Pham

Thank you, gor, and please continue to do the same, show support for H2.


Some $125B to blanket USA with 100,000 combined H2 + ultra quick charge e-stations, over the next 20+ years or so is not a major challenge for USA's private and public enterprises.

What is $5B/year for an economy the size of USA's?

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