Cross Toyota with a former General Motors and Hyundai executive and you might just get some real momentum when it comes to hydrogen refueling station deployment. Toyota and FirstElement Fuel Inc., which is headed by ex-GM and Hyundai executive Joel Ewanick, are working together on a project designed to complement California's agreement to spend about $200 million building 100 stations in the state.

And while Toyota didn't put out any specific numbers, Automotive News reports that FirstElement received a $27.6 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build 19 stations, which will be sited at existing fueling spots and spaced far enough apart to be reachable by anyone within the state. In all, California has granted $47 million for the deployment of 28 new stations. Additionally, Toyota will get Linde to build a refueling station on a Toyota-owned property in the San Francisco Bay Area's San Ramon, Calif.

Toyota, which is targeting a full-tank range of 300 miles and a five-minute refueling time for its fuel-cell sedan, had its fuel-cell prototype make its North American debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The company said at the time that 68 stations could serve 10,000 hydrogen vehicles. And while that station number doesn't sound terribly high, consider that there are fewer than 10 hydrogen refueling stations in California now. Check out Toyota's press release below and Autoblog's impressions from a drive of one of Toyota's fuel-cell prototypes late last year here.
Show full PR text
Toyota Collaborates with FirstElement, Providing Financial Assistance to Facilitate a Hydrogen Refueling Network in Targeted California Locations

Toyota also will collaborate with hydrogen provider Linde, which will build a public hydrogen refueling facility at the Toyota San Francisco Regional Office

May 01, 2014

TORRANCE, Calif. (May 1, 2014) – "The issue of hydrogen refueling infrastructure is not so much about how many stations; but rather, location, location, location," stated Bob Carter, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), just four months ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where he unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell sedan due to launch in 2015.

"Solutions are being found through collaboration between government, academia, carmakers and energy providers. Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen."

Today, TMS and its affiliate Toyota Motor Credit Corporation (TMCC) announced that they have entered into a group of financial agreements with FirstElement Fuel Inc. (FE) to support the long-term operation and maintenance expenses of new hydrogen refueling stations in California. The actual amount of financial assistance will be based on an analysis of the grant award to FirstElement by the California Energy Commission's (CEC) Notice of Proposed Awards (NOPA) announced on Thursday, May 1, and final approval of the NOPA, anticipated in June.

In accordance with the terms of the agreement with Toyota, FirstElement will work to develop an integrated and reliable network of fueling stations across California in target market locations approved by Toyota, and consistent with the California Fuel Cell Partnership Road Map.

"The first few years here in California will be a critical period for hydrogen fuel cell technology," said Carter. "California has stepped up with the offer to invest $200 million dollars to build 100 stations, and through this financial arrangement with FirstElement, Toyota is showing its full commitment to deploy zero emission fuel cell vehicles here in California. Perhaps most importantly, we are showing the future owners of this amazing technology that Toyota is helping to ensure that hydrogen refueling will be available, no matter what car brand is on the hood."

Today, TMS also announced that Linde LLC plans to build a hydrogen fueling station on TMS owned property located in San Ramon, California, adjacent to Toyota's San Francisco Regional Office and Parts Distribution Center. This location would serve local and regional customers, as well as serve as an important connector site between the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and the San Francisco Bay Area.

"This is just a start, but it's the first step in getting to the point in the near future where this technology will move into the mainstream," said Carter.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 14 manufacturing plants. There are more than 1,800 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sold over 2.3 million vehicles in 2012. Toyota directly employs nearly 39,000 people in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $27 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals over $26 billion.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      Levine Levine
      • 6 Months Ago
      Toyota is scamming you with proposed hydrogen fuel stations. It will be another "Better Place" fiasco. Both FCEV and hydrogen fuel are too expensive and too few for the average driver. The cost of developing hydrogen fueling station infrastructure on top of the incumbent octane fuel station infra-structure is unjustified when the national electric grid is available in every home. As sales and development of EVs have been faster than Toyota had anticipated, Toyota's investment in hybrid powertrain is threaten. Toyota is throwing the FCEV and hydrogen fuel station as the monkey wrench into the EV market to slow down the momentum.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        You mean that the market won't drive demand for $50,000-$100,000 cars that cost roughly the same as $15,000 cars to fuel up? How dare you question the wisdom of our wise master's macroeconomic central planning genius. Move to Somalia, you stupid libertarian! ;)
      Grendal
      • 6 Months Ago
      Upon reflection it makes sense that the government is stepping up. There is no market for any of this currently and it needs to created from scratch. The government is the one pushing for the new technology and, in many ways, forcing the automakers to change. So it then becomes their responsibility to assist the manufacturer in creating the change.
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        I would not mind them stepping in or stepping up, with public money that is only spent when vehicles get sold. There is big difference that most people don't understand or even consider. Infrastructure is money that gets spent, and does NOT guarantee the end goal. H2 infrastructure is VERY likely to fail in the marketplace, and ALWAYS be in need of perpetual subsidy, even if the FCV adoption never grows. On the other hand, subsidies that are only paid at the time of purchase of actual vehicles, DO contribute to the goal of government, to reduce emissions and oil imports.
        Dave
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        "Upon reflection it makes sense that the government is stepping up." Especially the California government. General Motors had a plan for a hydrogen infrastructure in Hawaii, a reasonable place to beta test hydrogen fueling infrastructure and some small fleets of FCEVs. GM and Hawaii's gas utility figured that 25 fueling stations would have been plenty for the entire island of Oahu. The plan (and GM's fuel cell program) ran into delays, but it still seems a more sensible idea than trying to build the first infrastructure in a massive state like California. http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2014/01/30/21031-hydrogen-fuel-cell-cars-were-supposed-to-be-hawaiis-car-of-the-future/ California couldn't stand to be upstaged, apparently.
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      I spoke to the CAFCP (California Fuel Cell Partnership) about this specific grant for 19 stations last month. They have until October 1st to build these 19 stations, or else they don't get the money. What you WON'T read in the PR,... is that gasoline station owners still need to pay close to a million dollars for each station (forgot the exact amount she said but it was over $750k)... the grant is NOT 100%. The problem is that gas station owners do not want to pay that much... and are extremely reluctant to support this. Most stations are independently owned... and don't have the resources to even try. And the big names like Shell, Valero, etc... don't want to pay either. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_24294103/new-life-californias-struggling-hydrogen-highway-plan "The plan failed. Schwarzengger had called for a public-private partnership, but he never checked with oil companies first. They didn't want to build the stations. Brown took a different approach. In January 2012, his Air Resources Board passed a rule forcing oil companies to build the stations. They threatened to sue. One Valero executive said his company objected "to being forced to fund its own demise."
        Letstakeawalk
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        I think they are supposed to operational by Oct. 31st, 2015 (according to the link I posted above). "They have until October 1st to build these 19 stations, or else they don't get the money." Do you have a specific citation for this? I do see this in the Q&A section: "Q.10 If an Applicant commits to open a hydrogen refueling station by October 31, 2015 but the station doesn’t actually open until after March 1, 2016, what will happen to the unused funds? For example, an awarded $2 million station set to open on October 1, 2015 can receive 85% or $1.7 million. In this example, the station is delayed until after March 1, 2016, the awardee only receives $1.4M and $300,000 is unused. A.10 To the greatest extent possible, the Energy Commission will strive to retain these funds for hydrogen refueling infrastructure purposes within the confines of state laws, policies and procedures and Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) regulations. Depending upon timing, leftover funds could revert to the general ARFVTP fund and they will be available for use by ARFVTP to fund any alternative fuel, vehicle and/or infrastructure per the ARFVTP Investment Plan." http://www.energy.ca.gov/contracts/PON-13-607/Q_and_A_PON-13-607_Addendum_02.pdf
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Sorry, I don't have a citation. This was a face to face with a CAFCP rep at the Alt-Car show in Richmond (not far from the bay's only public H2 station). We spent an hour talking about infrastructure rollout. It was specifically concerning the 19 early H2 stations... and the deadline was Sept 30 of this year 2014 for that particular block of money. It is possible something changed recently, and that deadline is now 2015 (lobbyists tend to push for extensions). So I don't know if my info is still accurate. But thank you for the links.
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      In local news: --"Additionally, Toyota will get Linde to build a refueling station on a Toyota-owned property in the San Francisco Bay Area's San Ramon, Calif." Just like when AC Transit (SF's bus transit service) got Linde to build an H2 station at the ACT Oakland site... was supposed to be done last year. After it failed... it was never heard from again. No press releases, nothing. So the entire bay area still only has 1 public H2 station. And this is quite common for there to be a lot of publicity about H2 stations seemingly having everything set up, ready to go... and then, silence. People forget. Bottom line.. there are thousand ways for station building project to fall through. Even if you have money allocated, a location chosen, and equipment ordered.
        Chris M
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        The AC transit station was used exclusively for fuel cell busses, it was never opened to the general public. Since there are no fuel cell cars being sold in the Bay Area, I fail to see how a "public H2 station" could remain in business, unless it also supplied a transit district as well. Not like anyone could drive a H2FCV from LA, at over 500 miles it's too far.
      goodoldgorr
      • 6 Months Ago
      Sure at first there won't be too fuelcell car fueling but on the long run we will get out of gasoline and fuelcell cars are electric so that's for the better. Im sure that it will be a success, that's better then to have bev blocking the side of the roads with an empty battery of air pollution by gasoline diesel. Also there will be truck refueling very soon at these station and motorcycles and dragster, race cars, boats and airplanes where there will be sufficient space. A bev recharging at a fast chargers is using too much space for too many time and that's not counting the ones waiting for the spot, many hours are waisted. Chris m if he's living in California will be cure of his paranoia as he can see it in reality, if he got a bev and live outside of California then he can take a month of vacation to make the trip to California. They should do the same thing in las vegas because it will attrack tourism all over the world to get to see it for real and then everybody will want to get out of gasoline/diesel except macho corvette driver, bad hummer owner, limousine driver and passengers, hyabusa aficionados, people driving over 80 mpg on the highway and open roads, 90% of f-150 drivers, winnabagos travelers. They won't organize sweepstake with fuelcell car because only Californian citizen can enjoy it. There is also no sweepstake with nev cars because nobody buy the tickets.
        Chris M
        • 6 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Oh, but Gorr, I do live in California, have for over 30 years. I've seen plenty of Nissan Leafs, Chevy Volts, Tesla Model S, even a few RAV4 EVs and Ford EVs and plug-in Priuses, too. Never seen a single hydrogen car, because I don't live in the LA area, which is the only area with H2 refueling. Would not be at all surprised if I never see a H2FCV on the road, either.
      lad
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm done with Toyota. Any company that moves out of California to Texas for 40 million dollars and plays backroom politics with the Texas Government has sold me their last car. BTW, take your dealerships with you. I note the quality of your cars is slipping and where your cars were at one time easily trusted to be safe and reliable, I don't think that is any longer true. Your company is looking more and more like it is being controlled by oil money.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 6 Months Ago
        @lad
        Don't blame Toyota for leaving the state that is either #1 or #2 for taxes, high regulatory costs, insane costs of living, and questions of whether they will still have water in the next decade. You'd do the same if you were a business looking to save on costs. In fact, we are moving our online school business out of the state too at the moment, because we need to grow and cannot afford to hire more employees due to California and Federal state taxes. 50% of our income is going to government. Toyota will save a hell of a lot more than 40 million dollars!
      2 wheeled menace
      • 6 Months Ago
      Side note: Toyota is moving their sales team out of California and relocating to Texas due to the lower taxes. But they are happy to take tax money handed to them by government for a pork project!
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Hydrogen is extremely Porky too. CARB cannot even pretend to be impartially balanced between Zero Emissions vehicles... they are constantly trying to give more and more the the Hydrogen lobby. THIS, is why it won't end... because Hydrogen is profitable even without anybody driving FCVs... because you get money thrown at you for even false promises.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Yup. Their business model is getting as much stolen money as possible - no market demand necessary. I mean, uh, the wise government is 'investing in the future' yet again...
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Or, as Marco put it.... "These stakeholders, do not need to " listen to the general public" , they can create the market." Yes, they can create a market of empty promises which will be paid promptly with government grants. Products are completely unnecessary. Infrastructure is something that can be completely funded, and never used for the purpose of reducing emissions. In contrast to selling cars to the end-users... that WILL be driving on zero emissions.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I can't take credit for this but since RegGuheert did it so elegantly, I've taken the liberty of reposting his analysis here... So, let's do the math: ABG wrote: In all, California has granted $47 million for the deployment of 28 new stations. Cost per station: $47M / 28 = $1.68M ABG wrote: The company said at the time that 68 stations could serve 10,000 hydrogen vehicles. Maximum vehicles per station: 10,000 / 68 = 147 Taxpayer cost for infrastructure for each fuel-cell vehicle deployed: $1.68M / 147 = $11,500 How many FCEVs can CA support for their $200M? 200M / $11.5K = 17,400 That's before any incentives are provided to consumers to purchase the vehicles. Clearly, CA taxpayers will pay dearly to drive on hydrogen. But as technology improves, FCEVs may reduce the efficiency and cost gap with BEVs, but they will not surpass it. They need to compete in the niches where the convenience of FCEVs exceeds that of BEVs. I don't see how there can be a crossover point at which FCEVs can be weaned off of government funds. The "hydrogen economy" is a costly one by all measures. A much better approach is to reduce fossil fuel consumption and provide distributed grid storage by deploying BEVs where they fit best. Today, that means commuters. As time marches on, it will include nearly every application. Hydrogen can carve out a few niche applications, but private enterprise should handle that task when/if there is a crossover versus incumbent technologies.
        Marco Polo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ Tom T Like you, I have doubt's that HFCV technology will every become viable. The real danger comes from not from the economics of existing circumstances, but the likelihood of being rendered obsolete by dramatic improvements in EV ESD. However, at the present time, both technologies are still only at the "potential stage". EV technology, is rapidly becoming accepted as a useful mainstream automotive technology, but mostly as variations of hybrid . HFCV technology has the 'potential' to replace gasoline/diesel vehicles across a much greater range of transportation. (and on a global scale). Governments have a vested interest in encouraging HFCV development, as the technology is less disruptive to existing economic structures, including tax revenue. Government objectives are always primarily political. While a strong political demand for Zero emission vehicles exists, governments will seek to support alternate fuels. Governments don't really care about the technology, only satisfying political objectives. HFCV technology offers governments a potential method of achieving a 'zero emission' transportation fleet, with very little economic economic disruption, and significant expansion to general economic activity. Once in mass-production, HFCV's will cost very little more than existing vehicles, while achieving 3 times the mileage in terms of fuel economy. For private motorists, fleet operators, truck owners, bus operators, farmers, etc, a zero emission vehicle, with all the features, and convenience of existing ICE technology,, but with dramatically improved fuel economy, is the limit of the goal the expect governments to achieve. HFCV technology has the advantage of simply replacing the Fuel, thus allowing anyone to own/operate the vehicle. EV's still have only a limited market for people who can access the technology, and only in passenger vehicle/ 2 wheel format. Judging the development and acceptance of HFCV technology, by the experience of EV introduction, is unrealistic. The forces behind the two technologies are very different.
      JB
      • 6 Months Ago
      Or you could just use CNG. NG is already everywhere its just a matter of compressing it.
        CoolWaters
        • 6 Months Ago
        @JB
        But they can't pretend CNG is Green.
        Dave
        • 6 Months Ago
        @JB
        Natural gas is currently cheap and plentiful in the USA, but that is not the case in Europe, Japan, China, Korea..... And even in the USA, natural gas is finite. The main source of hydrogen in the long term will be nuclear. Fourth generation nuclear technology is advancing parallel to fuel cell technology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur%E2%80%93iodine_cycle
          Dave
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dave
          "The sulfur–iodine cycle (S–I cycle) is a three-step thermochemical cycle used to produce hydrogen. The S–I cycle consists of three chemical reactions whose net reactant is water and whose net products are hydrogen and oxygen. All other chemicals are recycled. The S–I process requires an efficient source of heat. The S–I cycle was invented at General Atomics in the 1970s.[1] The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) has conducted successful experiments with the S–I cycle in the Helium cooled High Temperature Test Reactor,[2][3][4][5] a reactor which reached first criticality in 1998, JAEA have the aspiration of using further nuclear high-temperature generation IV reactors to produce industrial scale quantities of hydrogen. "
      Letstakeawalk
      • 6 Months Ago
      I posted the link in another article, but it certainly should be included here. This is a list of the station locations that are to be funded: http://www.energy.ca.gov/contracts/PON-13-607_NOPA.pdf No doubt there will interest from all sides here on ABG, as we wait to see how this will all play out! If all these stations are indeed built and operational by the Oct. 31, 2015 time frame, it will be a considerable accomplishment.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        The Pruitt-Igoe complex was also a considerable accomplishment.
        Chris M
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Weird. Plans for stations in 2 major metropolitan areas (LA basin, SF Bay area), but no way to get from one to the other. California central valley is pretty much left out, as is most of the rest of the US. Contrast that with what Tesla is doing with their Supercharger network - one can now drive almost anywhere using Superchargers, most are located between major metropolitan areas to connect them. It will be decades, if ever, before anyone can drive coast to coast on H2 without mobile refueling.
      goodoldgorr
      • 6 Months Ago
      It will work, this is cheap and non-polluting. People rejecting this are doing so because they won't admit having bought a lot of polluting gasoline in the past and actually and enjoy it by driving fast and accelerate fast , even some and doing burnouts. They say to plug because they actually plug a lot of devise and they want to get right doing so, they cannot envision an original solution that is completely new. I said many time that they are big oil folks and I repeat it today the 3 may 2014 and now they want to be big electricity folks that pollute with coal and natural gas and a lot of wires all around. God will prove them wrong but they will be the last to quit their gassers big v6 or v8 and they occupy this website to try to keep their gasser for all the time. Bevs are already proven to be a big fail. I need a used hydrogen car in 2025 approx.
        lad
        • 6 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        .Hydrogen is created by reforming fossil fuels and is a gross pollution process and continues our dependence on fossil fuels. Other facts: A fuel cell car is an electric car that has a fuel cell instead of a large traction battery. In fact some fuel cell cars are designed to include a buffer battery to smooth electron flow to the motor. Fuel cell cars cannot be charged directly from solar energy. Electrolysis of water to create Hydrogen in large quantities has proven to not be feasible. I would support fuel cell cars immediately if you didn't need fossil fuel processes to create it. Fuel cell cars are a perpetuation of the current gasoline/diesel system where the oil companies maintain control of the U.S. personal transportation business. The only change is they sell reformed hydrogen gas instead of liquid gasoline/diesel. Remember our Capitalistic system is not about selling produce; but, is about who can control the market. And, that's what fuel cell cars bring to our society, a continuation of price increases by the oil companies.
      Grendal
      • 6 Months Ago
      Where are the rabid anti government spending commenters? Where are the "subsidy!" cries? $200 million is not chump change. It's more than a third of what Tesla got in its ATVM loan and continues to get hammered over to this day even though they paid it back with interest. That's fragging weird.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        You didn't scroll down far enough, lol.
          Grendal
          • 6 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          @JakeY Exactly. I think the only regular commenter here that is anti-government spending is EVNerd. He is not a nut job though. He is well reasoned in his arguments and is willing to discuss his opinions at length. It's pretty hard not to be against wasteful government spending really. I've been arguing it a bit myself on some SpaceX news articles. SpaceX can save the American taxpayer tens of billions of dollars.
          JakeY
          • 6 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I think he's talking about the commenter set like the ones on the BYD article. I think the reason why they don't appear here is because this article wasn't cross posted to the regular Autoblog.
    • Load More Comments