True Zero, operating a large network of retail hydrogen-charging stations, says it has reached a major milestone last week of powering more than 1 million zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) miles by fuel cell cars. According to the company, this achievement marks a major ramp-up of fuel cell vehicles on California roads, considering its first charging station was only opened nine months ago.
True Zero attributes this ramp-up to the efforts of several automakers, including Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz, in expanding their fuel cell vehicle programs. Specifically, the company states that Toyota recently accelerated sales of its hydrogen-powered Mirai in California, and Honda will begin selling its mass-production Honda Clarity in California this fall.
“We’re starting to see the real impact of what we set out to do two years ago,” says Joel Ewanick, founder and CEO of First Element Fuel, True Zero’s parent company. “And that was to help get more electric cars on the road by making retail hydrogen readily available in California.”
Between November 2015 and May 2016, True Zero built 15 hydrogen stations throughout California, 14 of which are open for retail fueling. The True Zero Network spans from Lake Tahoe, through the San Francisco Bay Area, and down into Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange counties, and includes a hydrogen-charging station off Interstate 5 at Harris Ranch, which helps enable the drive between Northern and Southern California.
According to True Zero, the network will soon expand into San Diego. Notably, Linde also operates a retail hydrogen-charging station in Sacramento, helping connect the major metropolitan regions of California.
As previously reported, this first phase of the True Zero Hydrogen Network was developed as a result of grant funding from the California Energy Commission, in addition to funds provided by Toyota, Honda, the South Coast AQMD and the Bay Area AQMD.
“Celebrating the milestone of having more than a million fuel cell electric vehicle miles driven on California’s roadways demonstrates the progress this market has made in only a few short years. Making the transition to zero-emission vehicles is an important part of California’s strategy to achieving our federal clean air standards and ambitious climate goals,” says California Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott.
“We set out to show that a hydrogen-electric vehicle can be a true replacement for a gasoline engine, to be seamlessly driven throughout California with just four-minute stops to charge along the way,” adds Ewanick. “Now, we’re seeing it catch on, and people have driven more than a million miles in their fuel-cell vehicles, using our network to fuel up.”
Since opening for retail customers, the True Zero Network has performed more than 6,300 vehicle fills totaling more than 15,900 kilograms of hydrogen – translating to more than 1 million ZEV miles driven by True Zero hydrogen electric cars.