7,570 – that’s the number of hydrogen fuel cell cars that have been sold and leased in California as of 1st October 2019.
The US state also has 31 hydrogen fuel cell buses in operation and 41 hydrogen stations open, the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) reports on its website.
This is impressive when you compare these numbers with Japan, roughly the same size but has 89.2 million more people, which has sold and leased 3,386 hydrogen fuel cell cars, as of 1st August 2019.
Why are fuel cell cars so popular in California? In August, H2 View spoke with two fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) drivers.
“With hydrogen, your behaviour doesn’t change,” retired former California Energy Commission attorney Raoul Renaud told us.
“You don’t have to figure out how to charge your car at home overnight and if you’re at work in the middle of the day and something comes up where suddenly you need to drive some distance, you don’t need to wait an hour or so while your car recharges at a ‘quick’ charger.”
“With hydrogen, you refuel at a gas station, like you would with gasoline, it takes five minutes, and then off you go for another 300 or more miles.”
Tadashi Ogitsu, a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said FCEVs are more practical and economical for a longer driving range with short refuelling time.
“I like visiting remote places for my photography, so I would choose a FCEV over a battery electric vehicle,” he said. “But I think it is going to be mix of FCEV and battery electric that replace internal combustion engines.”