The founders of the True Zero hydrogen fueling network say they completed a scenic drive throughout California in a fuel-cell-electric Toyota Mirai, covering 1,438 miles in a 24-hour period.
According to True Zero, the goal of the drive was to demonstrate how a zero-emission electric vehicle can serve as a replacement for a gasoline vehicle. The car was refueled with four-minute fill-ups using the True Zero retail hydrogen network between Southern and northern California.
The drive, which started in Long Beach, spanned from sea level to 7,200 feet, passed through six of the seven largest cities in California, and crossed the state’s boundary into Reno, Nev. True Zero’s hydrogen charging stations in Long Beach, Harris Ranch/Coalinga, Truckee, Mill Valley, Saratoga and Santa Barbara were used to refuel the cars during the drive, as was a hydrogen charger in Sacramento operated by Linde.
“The point has been made that an electric car can do everything that a gasoline car can do but with zero emissions,” said Joel Ewanick, CEO of First Element Fuel, True Zero’s parent company. “All it took was grabbing a credit card, hopping in our Toyota Mirai with its carpool sticker, and charging up at the True Zero hydrogen stations that are open throughout California. And it’s possible today thanks to the state of California – the vision of the Energy Commission and Air Resources Board has arrived!
“The Mirai can go more than 300 all-electric miles on each four-minute charge of True Zero hydrogen, so it was easy to do all of it in 24 hours without any concerns or range anxiety,” he added.
Ewanick set off at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday on the initial leg from here to Sacramento, where he was relieved by Shane Stephens, True Zero’s chief development officer. Tim Brown, the company’s chief operations officer, took over the wheel in San Jose for the final section.
The first 15 True Zero stations are operational, and an additional four are expected to be online by early next year, including San Diego’s first hydrogen station slated to open in November.
“It’s very cool that we were able to show this kind of accomplishment during National Drive Electric Week,” said Ewanick. “Electric cars are so important to California’s environmental goals, and we’re starting to see the momentum build with fuel cells as part of that electric car mix. In just the last six months, our True Zero hydrogen chargers have powered well over a million miles of all-electric driving.”
True Zero’s hydrogen station network is funded in large part by grants from the California Energy Commission, South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and Bay Area AQMD, as well as financing from automotive firms Toyota and Honda. Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz have also announced plans to retail a fuel cell vehicle next year.