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Honda partners with FirstElement Fuel to build ‘at least 12’ hydrogen stations in Cali

Toyota has invested millions of dollars into expanding the hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the U.S., but the Japanese brand isn’t alone.

Honda, who just announced its own FCV Concept in Japan, is partnering with FirstElement Fuel to build several hydrogen stations across the state of California.

The automaker has pledged $13.8 million in financial assistance to the Newport Beach-based company, which in combination with state grants, could result in an additional 12 stations popping up across the Golden State.

“FirstElement Fuel is providing a vital piece of what is needed for a successful launch of fuel-cell vehicles,” said Steven Center, VP of Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office. “Through this collaboration, FirstElement will enable our customers to experience hydrogen refueling that is as reliable, convenient and consumer-friendly as the vehicles are.”

Earlier this year, FirstElement received an additional $27 million in grants from the California Energy Commission to construct 19 stations, and the state hopes to have 100 sites built by 2024. If things keep going the way they are, FirstElement could be directly responsible for nearly a third of them. Currently, there are nine public stations in California.

California law requires that 33 percent of all hydrogen produced in the state to come from ‘green’ renewable sources, such as refuse and even human waste. FirstElement expects its fueling stations to become profitable by around 2020.

Honda’s concept is the successor the brand’s noted Clarity FCV, but it features a hydrogen fuel stack that is 33 percent smaller than its predecessor’s. The system is good for 134 horsepower, and boasts an impressive range of 435 miles.

Like Toyota’s Mirai, Honda’s FCV can also equip an external power port, which allows the vehicle to act as a mobile generator. In the case of an emergency, the hydrogen car can provide invaluable electricity to a home or other structure as needed.