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Automakers develop consensus list of priority locations for next 19 H2 fueling stations in California

The automaker OEM Advisory Group (OEM AG) of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has developed a consensus list of recommended station priority locations for the next 19 hydrogen stations to be built in California. The OEM AG members are American Honda, General Motors, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.

The priority locations represent general geographic areas that the OEM AG suggests be considered by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), station developers and the California Energy Commission (CEC) in planning the next phase of hydrogen station network development in California. (Earlier post.) The automakers consider their recommendations as preliminary and expect to refine them further through subsequent analysis and further consultation with stakeholders prior to future solicitations.

To prepare the recommendations, the automakers worked individually to ascertain station deployment for their own market needs, then shared the data independently in a double-blind process. The data was then compiled into an aggregate list. The automakers then collaboratively reviewed the data to refine the cluster and regional infrastructure needs.

The automakers worked to ensure:

  1. customer travel-time to the nearest hydrogen station is minimized within a regional market;

  2. network coverage is sufficiently robust for inter-market travel;

  3. increased network capacity; and

  4. creation of redundancy in the network.

The recommendations focus on building hydrogen fueling network coverage and redundant capacity throughout the Northern California, Southern California and Central Valley regions.

OEM AG recommendations
(In alphabetical order, not priority ranked)
Primary Priority Secondary Priority
Beverly Hills/Westwood
Manhattan Beach
San Diego #2
San Diego #3
San Francisco
Thousand Oaks/Agoura Hills
Torrance/Palos Verdes
Culver City
Encino/Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys
Granada Hills
Irvine South
Los Banos*
Palm Springs
* These two locations will further strengthen the I-5 corridor.

In 2012, CaFCP published A California Road Map: Bringing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles to the Golden State (earlier post) that concluded that California would need 68 hydrogen fueling stations in five geographic clusters in which most early adopters are expected to support the roll-out of fuel cell vehicles. These cluster communities are:

  • Berkeley
  • South San Francisco Bay Area
  • Santa Monica and West LA
  • Torrance and nearby coastal communities
  • Irvine and southern Orange County

An update in 2014, Hydrogen Progress, Priorities and Opportunities (HyPPO), estimated California will reach 100 stations in 2021. HyPPO also discussed quantifiable improvements in cost reductions, investment strategies and station technology since 2012, while outlining a set of specific actions in six areas to further realize the establishment of the infrastructure required. (Earlier post.)



Good going (as usual with California). This a bare minimum good start. Some 150+ H2 stations would eventually be required to satify growing demands.

Wonder if they (H2 stations) could be linked with H2 pipelines or fed with H2 tank trucks, or with H2 made and compressed locally or a mix of all three?


IMHO this is a waste of time and thus money; but then, I'm biased toward BEVs and believe hydrogen is a scheme to continue the current system of Oil Companies controlling the U.S. energy market. What do I know?

Let's just require that we use renewable hydrogen or we are really just running on dirty fracked gas coming from oil companies.


We have no Oil or NG (yet) but a huge surplus of clean electricity (95% hydro and 5% wind)....CPPs, NPPs and NGPPs were all turn off and decommissioned. A lot more can be developed.

There are enough local objections against Oil and NG shale operations to keep them underground for a long time.

The ideal for us would be a mix of BEVs + FCEVs for extended range during our long cold winters and as a mean to store surplus REs.

Bob Wallace

It's likely wasted money but unless we give H2 FCEVs a chance to prove themselves in the real world we're going to have to listen to fans talk about how wonderful they would be if we would only give them a chance.

Toyota's going to sell a few hundred FCEVs at a $50k loss and give away fuel for the first two years. (A good way to disguise the actual operating cost.) Let's see how they sell.


Greenwashing scam


The final solutions may very be with 5-5-5- batteries (in about 2025 or so) and even better with 10-10-10 batteries (in about 2035 or so.

Meanwhile, interim solutions such as (1) HEVs have already prospered, (2) PHEVs also, (3) improved ICEVs seems to have a second chance. (4) short range BEVs are being rolled out. (5) a few real expensive extended range BEVs (TESLA's) are coming out. 6) very few extended range PCEVs are also coming out.

Finally, only 5) and 6) may compete for the ground vehicles mass market?


Deck chairs...Titanic. Hey, maybe if we not only rearrange them but also add a couple more!


William Stockwell

They can produce bio-propane and can use it in a SOFC, a 30KWH battery combined with a 30KW fuel cell is a vehicle most could live with - a 100mile battery range and if you have to go father hit a button and start your fuel cell 30 KW will push a midsize at a steady 70mph. Propane is pretty clean and Bio-propane would be carbon neutral, propane is energy dense and doesn't need an exotic high pressure tank or brand new infrastructure. We do need a few advances in SOFCs working temperatures have been lowered from 900C to 600C but still needs to get down to around 350C.


The usual stuff in the comments which assume that it is possible to run a society with a lot of renewables without a huge input from storage.

There are AFAIK absolutely no detailed plans which show that anything like that is possible.

All of those involve huge need for storage, with hydrogen the biggest one.
Here is a recent Finnish study:

Not liking hydrogen does not excuse simply ignoring what is possible, and what isn't.

If it were EP posting, it is a different matter, as he advocates building lots of nuclear, which would mean not needing the hydrogen pathway to any large extent.

They aren't building them though, and there is no prospect of their doing so to any large extent in the West.

So I favour what can actually be made to work.

Others seem to prefer ignoring the reality that lots and lots of renewables can't be done without hydrogen.

As an aside, these are some of the stations to fuel the cars both of which opponents declared confidently would never be built.

Well, they are building them, which is a win for reality.


In addition to ignoring winter, died in the wool opponents of fuel cells and hydrogen contrive to ignore the 50% of people with nowhere to plug a car in.

They are not going to accept greatly reduced convenience and fool around as a BEV enthusiast might to get a charge.

One universal solution does not work.



"the 50% of people with nowhere to plug a car in"

I'm not convinced that 50% of car owners live off the grid. The lack of charging stations is a short-term problem. It can easily be remedied if there is sufficient demand.


Yes Davemart...over 50% of potential BEV owners have moved (or are moving) to cities where easy access to Level II charging energy level is not readily available.

Even in our 100% electric large condo building, it would cost about $5.5K each to have the internal electrical system modified and the main 25,000 VAC step down transformer may have to be changed. That could cost another $2K+ each.

Secondly, there are very few public quick charge and/or level II stations in operation.

Since we have huge surpluses of clean (hydro + wind) energy, H2 stations may be an interesting complement/alternative, specially for our long cold winters when wind production picks up.

The total cost would certainly not be more than gasoline and ICEVs at $1.35L let along the environmental/pollution/health cost.


Public H2 stations could get electricity 24/7 at $0.03/kWh and for less off peak demand hours.

The $50,000,000 or more that it will take to build these 19 H2 fuel stations would build over 300 Tesla Supercharging stations. With the 200 mile Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 coming out within a few years, it will be increasingly difficult to make a rational case for creating an entirely new fuel infrastructure with fuel costs 10x and dispensing station costs 16x that of the competition.

When the number of cars and stations are very small, it's easy to obfuscate the real cost with non disclosure agreements on the fuel cost. But as more stations and cars are built, the slight of hand gets noticed. Consumers are smarter than that.


ECIC...with very low cost excess/surplus clean electricity (which we have), H2 will eventually be produced as cheap, if not cheaper, that dirty imported diesel/gasoline.

By adding the very high environmental/health cost to fossil (and bio) fuels, clean H2 may quickly become cheaper and would fit well with our cold winters and long travel distances.

I admit that conditions are different in NYC and many other US cities where dirty electricity goes for $0.30/kWh instead of $0.03/kWh. That is not our case and will not be for years.

We would need 5-5-5 or even 10-10-10 batteries to manage our very cold winter days.

HD> H2 will eventually be produced as cheap...

I'd love to see the whole system costs beat conventional liquid fuels, and if that happened from renewable sources I'd be a supporter. But the likelihood of that happening before someone solves the thermal management problem for batteries in very cold climates seems low.

Is the problem really much different than block heaters?


The 50% of people without easy access to charging refers to those, even in the US, who park their cars beside the road not in a garage.
Worldwide the percentage would be far higher.

If you think providing access for them is trivial, you have not studied the matter.

And if you think that most people who do not have easy access to at home charging are going to fool around to an unlimited extent to save the few dollars a week that fuel costs ex tax you are also mistaken.

Whatever BEV enthusiasts think, cars are a convenience, and people are not going to sacrifice convenience to use batteries.


eci said:

'When the number of cars and stations are very small, it's easy to obfuscate the real cost with non disclosure agreements on the fuel cost. But as more stations and cars are built, the slight of hand gets noticed. Consumers are smarter than that. '

Well, in your case hopefully you are now able to distinguish between prices pre and post tax, as you had based your notions on confusing the two.

You ignore that many pathways may lead to hydrogen from renewables being competitive with petrol per mile driven.

You also ignore that if there is a problem on hydrogen costs PHEV configurations such as the prototype Audi have made could also be used.

Most people are smart enough to know that the major car companies probably know more about how to build cars which work and can be economically fuelled than some guy who won't put his own name to his comments and who runs a blog apparently devoted to the uncritical promotion of Tesla.


Hmmm, well you guys say that we need H2 for energy storage and you might be right.

But that is very different than trying to use H2 for a major part of our transportation infrastructure. For light duty vehicles, at best it's misguided and at worst, it's a scam propagated by special interests, mainly oil and gas industry who are trying to keep us buying transportation fuel from them.

Second, if H2 is really the right storage medium to help us through our colder winter days then that will become viable. But as much as you guys disparage batteries for that use, there are a lot of projects underway in the commercial and utility sector where they're using batteries because...they think it's the right solution. Not because they are getting subsidized to do it.

If H2 is really cheaper and more efficient, it will win plenty of those bids as well.


@DaveD..I have nothing against BEVs and I would gladly buy one or two when they become a practical transportation solution in our very cold area.

Right now they are better suited as a summer short range vehicle.

We will need BEVs with affordable 120+ kWh battery pack and road side quick charge stations to operate safely in winter times.

It is probably coming but it is not really here yet.

Nothing makes it more clear that you've run out of convincing arguments, Davemart, than when you launch into personal attacks. That seems to be a majority of the time with Hydrogen. I guess it's hard to think of something interesting to say given the scorecard of FCVs vs BEVs and PHEVs after several decades of R&D.

If H2 is a commercially viable fuel, why are dispensers asked to sign non-disclosure agreements about the hydrogen fuel cost? How is hiding the price from your end user customer helpful?


@ Bernard (and backing up Dave M)....One paper showing ~50% of US can plug in a PEV says: "study 1 estimates that about half of new car-buying US households park at least one vehicle within 25 ft of a Level 1 (110/120 V) electrical outlet at home"

Axsen, J. and K.S. Kurani (2012). Who can recharge a plug-in electric vehicle at home? Transportation Research Part D, 17(5), 349-353. Available at:


There are some arguments that haven't been made yet on H2:
1. what are we doing about medium and heavy duty vehicles that use ~50 billion gal/diesel a year and are responsible for a considerable amount of air quality problems (in addition to GHGs)? You can electrify some, improve efficiency, and try to use as much low GHG biofuels but... (a) you can't electrify everything (b) biofuel carbon intensities are increasingly contentious and won't be settled any time soon and (c) efficiency+electrification won't get us to an 80% reduction in GHGs like the IPCC says we need to stave off a 2 deg C temp change.

2. Even a high range 200-mile Bolt (with an effective range of ~150 miles) will not satisfy range needs of something like 30-40% of drivers if you assume people are willing to charge once per day and are willing to be "inconvenienced" by lack of range a couple times a year. Battery swapping and inductive roadway charging are all nice options but show me they work and are cheaper than a H2 infrastructure (estimated at ~$40-50 billion net present value in the 2013 NAS transitions study). What to do? I don't like building a whole new infrastructure either, but seems our only choice.

If cities can install street lamps and parking meters, that are capable of installing chargers wherever cars are parked. With inductive charging, there are not even any exposed wires.

The idea that a new refueling infrastructure that costs an order of magnitude more than electric, with fuel that is also enormously more expensive and can not be dispensed automatically overnight or while at work, from rooftop or solar canopy arrays, is more desirable, is a puzzler only for people without economic ties to the fossil fuel / H2 industry.

US Department of Energy estimates $500 billion to $1 trillion for a national H2 infrastructure.

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