California fuel cell trade group aims for 200 hydrogen stations by 2035

California fuel cell trade group aims for 200 hydrogen stations by 2035

August 23, 2021 3 By Alicia Moore

The CaFCP is pushing for 70,000 heavy-duty H2 trucks on state roads that will be served by the locations.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has issued a news release in which it states that it is taking aim at achieving 70,000 heavy-duty H2-powered trucks on state roads by 2035, with 200 hydrogen stations serving them with the fuel they require.

They referred to that deadline as only one step along the way of reaching the state’s 2045 goal.

According to CaFCP, this number of fuel cell heavy-duty trucks and hydrogen stations will be an important milestone on the way to California’s 2045 goal for 100 percent zero-emission trucks. These vehicles currently represent about 2 percent of all road traffic in California. However, they also represent about 9 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the entire state. They produce 32 percent of the state’s nitrogen-oxide emissions and 3 percent of the particulate emissions, according to the trade group.

This is not a circumstance specific to California. Instead, similar figures are recorded across the United States. The reason is that these vehicles are typically diesel powered, which explain why their emissions are considerably greater than their numbers on the roads.

Hydrogen stations would be a critical part of making heavy-duty fuel cell trucks possible.

Increasingly, stakeholders are turning to commercial vehicles as a feasible use for H2 fuel cells. That said, while there is potential for applications in heavy-duty trucking, the limited refueling infrastructure is maintaining hesitation to transition. This was the same issue that held back fuel cell passenger car sales.

Toyota is among a shrinking number of automakers that is continuing to test passenger cars powered by H2. It is also testing a few Project Portal prototype trucks for short-haul drayage service. Those tests have been ongoing at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles for a number of years.

Hydrogen stations - image of transport truck on CA road

In July, Hyundai announced its own intentions for testing 500-mile fuel cell semi trucks in the state, beginning with a year-long pilot program involving the use of two trucks until 2023, and that will expand to a 30-vehicle fleet after that point. Earlier in 2021, General Motors and Navistar announced their plans for 500-mile range H2 trucks. They plan to put 2,000 on the roads in 2024.

While other automakers, including Daimler Trucks, are coming up with their own strategies, an infrastructure of hydrogen stations will be necessary before widespread rollout will be possible.

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