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7 California state legislators call on Energy Commission fully to allocate $20M annual for hydrogen stations

Seven California legislators that serve on the state’s Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees, including Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield), called on the California Energy Commission (CEC) to fully allocate the $20 million annual set aside targeted for building hydrogen fueling stations that is included in the commission’s Clean Transportation Plan.

In a letter to Commissioner Patty Monahan, the bipartisan group of lawmakers said the CEC did not allocate the funds in its recent updated “Clean Transportation Plan.” The failure to include the funds “undermines California’s ability to reach five million zero emission vehicles through the build out of 200 publicly available hydrogen fueling stations…risking equal and affordable access to clean transportation,” the legislators wrote.

While only a small share of zero emission vehicles on the road today, hydrogen electric vehicles must be a significant part of California’s clean transportation future. They offer quick refueling times at centrally located stations, long-range, and the ability to scale to larger-size applications. These advantages hold special promise to those without regular access to charging (such as the 46% of Californians living in multi-family dwellings and the 10% “super-commuter” workforce who travel more than 90 minutes per day, predominately from the Central Valley and Inland Empire).

Abandoning hydrogen electric vehicles at this critical juncture also guarantees higher electricity rates and higher housing costs as the need for charging infrastructure grows.

—Lawmakers’ letter

Signing the letter in addition to Frazier were Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside), Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), Kansen Chu (D-Milpitas), Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) and Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield).



$20m would fund 6 hydrogen stations, or 100 DC fast charging stations.

Charging at multi-family dwellings is an solvable problem, install chargers (It’s a tenant amenity people will pay for, the state could simply provide low interest financing)

For long distance commuters, any EV with 200 mile or better range solves that problem. That’s most of them these days...


An H2 dispenser could fuel a big rig in a short time,
10 chargers would take an hour.


CCS charges at up to 350kW.

Tesla Supercharger charges at 250kW.

Tesla’s Megacharger, announced for Semi, is reported to charge at the rate of 400 miles range per hour of charge - for the Semi.

Charging port has 8 conductors. So likely to be 1,000 kW or higher, as it’s name would indicate.


One megawatt charging with 8 stations takes the current
used by a large neighborhood of 1000 homes.
It is much easier and quicker to fill H2.


That’s a very odd comparison. As if producing, transporting and compressing the hydrogen does not take far more energy. Readers of this site know better.

Leaving out the cost comparison gives away the game.

Hydrogen costs about $14 per kg, $0.21 per mile for passenger cars.

Electricity from solar is now being bid at less than $0.02 per kWh in some regions.

For the cost of a hydrogen station, you could build out full solar field to power it and have plenty of money left over.

With expected short term increases in battery energy density, H2 infrastructure is unlikely to be an appealing investment.

VW, Toyota and Tesla have all set 2025 as the likely inflection point.

H2 for transportation is a technological cul-de-sac.

Readers of this site know better.
Well, most readers.  We all know who doesn't.
H2 for transportation is a technological cul-de-sac.
H2 is the ploy of the fossil fuel and service station industries to stay in the game.  It is most cheaply made from natural gas and is too dangerous and expensive to produce locally.  EVs eliminate all but the C-store and slash traffic to it.  They also eliminate a lot of the pipeline industry.

My fuel cost comparison above was incomplete.

Mid to large fleets can install solar (or buy community solar) and see costs of about $0.05 kWh. For the car comparison, that’s $0.012 per mile.

For trucks, scale both H2 and electric cost per mile by 5x to 10x and you have a reasonable back of the envelope number that puts the cost difference into perspective even without knowing what size truck or load.

At 10x:
$2.10 per mile for H2
$0.12 per mile for electric.

Over 500k miles:

$1m for H2
$60k for electric


producing, transporting and compressing the hydrogen...
You make the H2 where you dispense it.


Still have to produce it, and the cost of small scale locally electrolyzed H2 is?...


Still have to compress it, not an insignificant cost.

Also, takes a lot of water. Not at all an inconsequential amount at scale.

Someone is planning (or at least announcing a plan) to run this experiment: Nikola.

I sincerely hope they succeed and come up with a breakthrough and execution that surprises us all.

Just not going to stake my future on it.

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