Shell Oil Products US, operating under Equilon Enterprises LLC, has announced the immediate closure of its hydrogen refueling stations for light-duty passenger vehicles in California.
This decision, attributed to hydrogen supply complications and external market factors, signifies the oil giant’s exit from the light-duty hydrogen vehicle market in the U.S.
The seven stations affected by this closure are located across California, including two in San Francisco, and others in Berkeley, Citrus Heights, Sacramento, and San Jose. This move comes after Shell previously indicated a shift away from additional light-duty vehicle fueling stations in the state, alongside the abandonment of plans to construct 48 new hydrogen filling stations despite a $40.6 million grant.
Effective immediately, the following stations will be closed permanently:
|1250 University Ave
|6141 Greenback Lane
|3510 Fair Oaks Blvd
|551 Third Street
|1201 Harrison Street
|3550 Mission Street
|101 Bernal Road
Shell’s focus now shifts towards hydrogen solutions for heavy-duty mobility and the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for light-duty vehicles. This strategic pivot aligns with broader industry trends emphasizing the decarbonization of heavy transport sectors and the growing adoption of EVs for personal transport.
The closure also reflects broader challenges within the hydrogen fuel market, including issues of supply reliability and demand. With hydrogen-powered vehicles comprising less than 1% of California’s battery-electric vehicle registrations in 2023, market dynamics have underscored the niche status of hydrogen fuel for passenger cars.
Additionally, Shell’s decision comes amidst legal controversies involving Nel, a supplier of hydrogen refueling station equipment, which is facing a lawsuit over alleged defects in its products. This backdrop of operational challenges and strategic realignments highlights the evolving landscape of alternative fuel options for transportation, with companies reassessing their investments in light of market demand, technological developments, and infrastructure readiness.
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