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CA Air Resources Board | Air Quality Officials Test-Drive Hydrogen Cars from Santa Monica to Sacramento

Uploaded 04/20/2016

Air Quality Officials Test-Drive Hydrogen Cars from Santa Monica to Sacramento

On Wednesday, April 20, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols led a rally of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles with Energy Commissioner Janea Scott and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) Deputy Director Tyson Eckerle on a 400-mile journey from Los Angeles to ARB headquarters in Sacramento in celebration of Earth Day. The rally highlights the fact that these ultra-clean vehicles are now available for sale or lease, and there is a rapidly growing statewide network of hydrogen filling stations to support them.

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are ultra-clean. They are powered by hydrogen and emit only water vapor. Hydrogen is a clean, low-carbon fuel, and California leads the nation in developing fueling stations, with 15 retail stations open now and over 30 more in development.  Fuel cell electric vehicles are available for customers to purchase or lease today, and they are as easy and fast to fill as conventional gas-powered cars. FCEVs can easily go the distance in a state as large as California.

“In an effort to put my money where my mouth is, I’ve become an early adopter of electric vehicles and just recently extended my range with a new fuel cell electric vehicle,” ARB Chair Mary Nichols said. “Thanks to California’s hydrogen infrastructure investments, my Toyota Mirai FCEV can get me anywhere I need to go.” She added that “this rally puts the network to the test and gives us a fun opportunity to highlight that hydrogen-powered cars are essential to meeting our climate goals and a crucial tool in the state’s effort to clean up our air — especially in the Central Valley.”

Joining ARB Chair Nichols in the rally will be GO-Biz Deputy Director of Zero Emissions Vehicle Infrastructure Tyson Eckerle and California Energy Commissioner Janea Scott. Each official will be driving a fuel cell electric vehicle including models from Toyota, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.

“I am delighted to join my colleagues in these beautiful fuel cell electric vehicles on a ride highlighting the state’s network of hydrogen refueling stations,” Commissioner Scott commented. “Vehicles with no tailpipe pollution and the refueling infrastructure to support them, like we are are showcasing today, are a key part of the strategy California is pursuing to address our clean air standards and ambitious climate goals.”

“The drive from Los Angeles to Sacramento in a hydrogen vehicle shows what is possible with close collaboration between the state and industry,” said GO-Biz deputy director Tyson Eckerle. “A year ago, the ability to refuel a ZEV in three minutes on a trip across California was only a plan. Now, after three minutes at the pump and a pit stop, we’re able to go another 300 miles. The possibilities are endless.”

About California’s Role in Advancing Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

The process of launching an advanced new fuel into the retail marketplace requires significant collaboration among state agencies and with automakers and station operators.

The California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program is providing cost-sharing for an initial network of at least 100 stations through 2023 by investing up to $20 million each year for stations located where customers driving fuel cell electric vehicles live, work and travel. About $100 million has been invested to date to support the construction, operation and maintenance of 49 hydrogen refueling stations, including a mobile refueler.

The California Air Resources Board supports network and station development by matching projected market demand and advancing station technology to meet customer needs and expectations.

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development helps local government and developers with planning and permitting of new stations.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Measurement Standards, certifies hydrogen fuel meters and regulates fuel quality, advertising and labeling in the consumer marketplace.

Visit for more information about hydrogen and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Fast Facts:

  • There are more than 300 fuel cell electric vehicles on the road in California

  • ARB staff projects 6,650 fuel cell electric vehicles will be registered in the state in 2017, and 10,500 in 2018

  • As of April 2016, California has 15 retail hydrogen fueling stations, all opened since June 2015

  • Six future retail stations have finished construction and are in final development stages

  • Six additional future retail stations are under construction

  • Additional future retail stations are in various stages of development; up to 51 open retail stations will be in place in 2017


ARB’s mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

(c)2016 CalEPA | SCVTV
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