Last year, the California Fuel Cell Partnership released a "vision document" that laid out the group's plan for introducing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to California by 2015. The gist: start building refueling stations in LA and San Francisco-Sacramento with private and public money. You can download the vision document (abbreviated / full, both in PDF) from the CaFCP.

Yesterday, the CaFCP released their action plan for implementing the goals in the vision. On top of the two areas named last year, the action plan adds four places that should become "hydrogen communities": Santa Monica, Irvine, Torrance and Newport Beach. All told, CaFCP sees 46 retail hydrogen fueling stations in the six areas at a cost estimated at $180 million over four years (two-thirds of that to be paid for by the government). This will "meet the fuel needs of 4,300 passenger vehicles and 20 fuel cell buses by 2014" Want to do the math with me? That's more than $41,000 per vehicle. Of course, since the CaFCP says they expect 50,000 fuel cell vehicles in customer hands by 2017, they consider the $180 million an investment in the future. You?

[Source: California Fuel Cell Partnership]


PRESS RELEASE:

California Fuel Cell Partnership Action Plan: 46 Retail Hydrogen Stations by 2014 in Six California Communities Serving Thousands of Fuel Cell Vehicles

Sacramento, Calif. -- The California Fuel Cell Partnership has released an action plan that details a strategy for deploying hydrogen fueling stations and fuel cell vehicles in California . Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle and Station Deployment Plan: A Strategy for Meeting the Challenge Ahead specifies the steps needed to meet the fuel needs of 4,300 passenger vehicles and 20 fuel cell buses by 2014, and prepares for even more growth though 2017. The plan calls for 46 retail hydrogen fueling stations in six key California communities at a cost of about $180 million over four years; $60 million from industry and $120 million from government.

"By 2017, automotive manufacturers plan to place 50,000 zero-emission fuel cell vehicles in customer hands. FCVs will provide the performance, durability, driving range, and comfort that customers want, and meet the nation's need for a domestic fuel that is better for the environment," explained Catherine Dunwoody , CaFCP's Executive Director.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership's action plan has three focus areas:

  • Developing early "hydrogen communities" for passenger vehicles with clusters of retail hydrogen stations in four Southern California communities: Santa Monica , Irvine , Torrance and Newport Beach , with additional stations to support the next identified communities and a network of connector stations
  • Expanding the transit program in the San Francisco Bay Area with new mixed-use stations that provide fuel for passenger vehicles and transit buses, as well as dedicated retail hydrogen stations for passenger vehicles.
  • Developing codes, standards and regulations with a state-of-the-art hydrogen station in the Sacramento area that will enable regulatory agencies to validate new test procedures as well as provide fuel for passenger vehicles in the Sacramento area.

To date, 250 demonstration vehicles-passenger and transit buses-have been placed on California 's roads. They fuel at 26 hydrogen stations in the state. Most of these are small stations built to fuel a specific fleet of cars for a limited period. Only six of California 's current stations are useable by all the automakers and their customers. California will need 50-100 hydrogen stations in just eight years, which will require the collaborative efforts of multiple industry and government entities.

"It's important to start today," concluded Ms. Dunwoody. "Building hydrogen stations to meet customers' fuel needs in 2014 will put California on the path to the early commercial market for fuel cell vehicles. FCVs will help reach California 's goals for improving our air quality, securing our energy future and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Please visit www.cafcp.org for the overview or full version of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle and Station Deployment Plan: A Strategy for Meeting the Challenge Ahead.

CaFCP is a public-private collaboration of organizations including auto manufacturers, energy providers, fuel cell technology companies and government agencies working together to promote the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles. Hydrogen and fuel cell vehicle technology are a central part of a long-term strategy for air quality, climate protection and energy diversity.