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100 New Hydrogen Stations Coming to California

Written by gabriels posted on Monday, October 14th, 2013

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fuels a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle before signing the California Hydrogen Highway Network initiative during a ceremony at a refueling station at UC Davis. (Steve Yeater/AP file (2004))

Several of the world’s top car manufacturers, including Toyota, BMW and Mercedes, have set their sights on the next big thing for the auto industry:  hydrogen. As it turns out, California is equally excited by the prospect of a new, cleaner way to power vehicles.Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 8, the $2B “2013 Clean Fuels Reauthorization Act” authored by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) that would use existing fees on motor vehicles to fund the creation of 100 new, public hydrogen-fueling stations.

The stations would begin rolling out soon and would be fully completed by 2024. Fuel-cell technology has not always enjoyed a high level of support, often seen as nothing more than a pipe dream by policymakers in the past. The California Fuel Cell Partnership said it was surprised by the level of support that the new bill has gathered from both Republicans and Democrats.

Maybe they had the chance to test drive a new, hydrogen fuel-cell car, and it changed their minds. Digital Trends had the chance to drive a hydrogen-powered Mercedes and reported that the lack of a fueling infrastructure was the only factor that is keeping hydrogen from taking over.

As California plans fuel stations for South Orange, Los Angeles and other counties, vehicle manufacturers have been working hard to supply the vehicles to take advantage of them. Mercedes recently indicated that it is less than one year away from having all the technology in place for a new B-Class, fuel-cell car to be manufactured on a large scale. However, the company does not expect to begin wide-spread sales of the B-Class until 2016 or 2017, when more fuel stations have been built.

BMW also has been working on a hydrogen-powered vehicle and previously released specs for the BMW Hydrogen 7, which is based on the existing, gasoline-powered 7-series.

At The Driving Machine, we are always thrilled to learn how to repair new BMW, Mercedes and MINI models. For more than three decades, we have kept up with the newest designs, and we continue to embrace the ever-changing technology in German luxury cars.

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