Back in July Toyota promised to have a mass-market hydrogen fuel cell car by 2015. But Toyota isn’t the only one getting serious about hydrogen. Now, California joins the Japanese automaker with its own push for hydrogen, promising at least 100 new public hydrogen fueling stations by 2024.
Governor Jerry Brown is reportedly set to sign into law Assembly Bill 8, which would extend existing fees on motor vehicles, boat registrations, and new tires in order to fund the construction of the 100+ stations. Additionally, the bill extends the authority of local air districts to impose vehicle registration surcharges in their areas to achieve emission reductions from vehicles and off-road engines.
These extended fee structures initially rolled out some 10 years ago and are designed to encourage the turnover of older vehicles while also increasing revenue.
The bill has the surprising support from over 80 stakeholders, including; the Natural Defense Council; The American Lung Association; the California Trucking Association; and the Western States Petroleum Association. Clearly, some unlikely allies back the bill.
“The wide-ranging, bipartisan support caught us off guard a bit,” said Keith Malone of the California Fuel Cell Partnership in a phone interview.
Just last week we took a look into the current state of hydrogen fuel cell cars down in Torrance, California. After we drove hydrogen-powered vehicles from Mercedes, Hyundai, it became clear the only thing holding hydrogen back is the fueling infrastructure.
Where will these new stations go? According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, they’ll follow the hydrogen roadmap, which includes stations in South Orange County, Los Angeles County, Silicon Valley, and Berkley.
We’re sold on the future of hydrogen and encourage any means necessary to get hydrogen up to the level ownership viability that gasoline enjoys today. While we’ll be sad to see old cars pushed off the road with increased fees, we’re eager to see hydrogen take hold.