Green Car Reports documents the challenges that drivers of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are having finding functional stations:
Last year, the state of California committed $100 million over five years to building 100 hydrogen fueling stations in the state by 2020, in partnership with Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda, and private companies like First Element Fuel as well.
Early lessee Paul Berkman of Corona del Mar, for one, is frustrated.
He’s paying $500 a month for a vehicle he hasn’t been able to drive for five weeks, because all three hydrogen stations within 20 minutes of his home or workplace have been down for more than a month.
Berkman told Green Car Reports that the closest station, five minutes away at a Shell site in Newport Beach, has been “struggling”–and that at best it can only fill his Tucson Fuel Cell to half capacity.
Ten minutes away, a station by the University of California–Irvine campus has been closed for upgrades.
The California Air Resources Board issued a testy response to the article, which Green Car Reports included in an update. They cite the early trouble with plug-in electric vehicle stations, too, as an example of what they hope are just short-term problems.
Trouble is, public charging stations for battery electrics are also unreliable, even after a number of years of widespread usage. So that’s not exactly confidence-inspiring. The state will need to get this issue fixed, for both fuel cell and battery electrics, if it has any hope of encouraging widespread adoption of these technologies. But at least with battery electrics, you can just charge at home.