Cleantech
Toyota Funding Hydrogen-Fueling Infrastructure in California

Toyota has entered into a group of financial agreements with FirstElement Fuel Inc. (FE) to support the long-term operation and maintenance expenses of new hydrogen refueling stations in California, according to a recent announcement.

Toyota says the amount of financial assistance will be determined by an analysis of the grant award to FirstElement by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Notice of Proposed Awards (NOPA) announced on May 1, and final approval of the NOPA, anticipated in June.

As part of the agreement with Toyota, FirstElement will work to develop an integrated and reliable network of fueling stations across California in target market locations approved by Toyota, and consistent with the California Fuel Cell Partnership Road Map.

Toyota announced that Linde, a provider of industrial, process and speciality gases, plans to build a hydrogen fueling station on Toyota-owned property in San Ramon, California, adjacent to Toyota’s San Francisco Regional Office and Parts Distribution Center. Toyota says this location would serve local and regional customers, as well as an important connector site between the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys and the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The issue of hydrogen refueling infrastructure is not so much about how many stations; but rather, location, location, location,” stated Bob Carter, SVP of Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. “Solutions are being found through collaboration between government, academia, carmakers and energy providers. Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”

The State of California’s Energy Commission and the Air Resources Board recently announced that the state has joined H2 USA, a public-private partnership led by the U.S. Department of Energy dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of clean transportation solutions, primarily fuel cell electric vehicles (FCVs) and a fueling infrastructure that will make these vehicles more accessible and affordable.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars could potentially beat out electric vehicles as the eco-friendly car of the future. Hydrogen cars have more than three times the standard range of plug-in EVs, can be refueled in minutes rather than hours and look and handle more like traditional cars. The current lack of hydrogen refueling stations has been a major impediment to widespread adoption of the technology.

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