SACRAMENTO, Calif.–If California is going to meet its aggressive goals for zero-emission vehicles, the state will need to make major new investments in building the infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles.
That was the testimony of union leaders, auto manufacturers, and the hydrogen industry at a hearing of a joint hearing of the Senate Transportation Committee and Senate Budget Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. chaired by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and Senator Bob Weickowski (D-Fremont).
Hydrogen backers note the industry will receive approximately $190 million through 2023 thru the state’s Clean Transportation program. That compares to the more than $2.4 billion that has been spend on charging infrastructure for battery electric vehicles. The private sector has contributed 70 percent of the cost for the state’s charging stations – a figure that is at risk if the state does not show more support for the technology.
Industry experts say hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have several advantages over battery electric vehicles. For example, they can be fueled as quickly as a conventional gasoline-powered automobile (three to five minutes), eliminating the extended time periods for charging. They also have a longer driving range, making them a better fit for the increasing number of California “super commuters” that drive long distances. In addition, since charging stations aren’t required, they are a more logical option for the 40 percent of Californians who live in apartment buildings and other multi-family housing.
Studies from the California Air Resources Board note that 1,000 strategically located hydrogen fueling stations could serve about 97 percent of the state. There are currently 45 such stations in the state today.
There are approximately 10,000 hydrogen powered vehicles on California’s roads today.