California’s long-awaited “hydrogen highway” may soon become a reality. A watered-down version of ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plans to make way for hydrogen-powered vehicles to travel from California to Mexico is now on the horizon.
The California Energy Commission says it will spend about $20 million to build about half of the 100 stations needed to allow a driver of a hydrogen car to travel freely throughout the state. Currently, there are just 10 operational stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco. By October, a new station will be open in Coalinga, allowing drivers of hydrogen cars to travel between the two cities, according to the Los Angeles Times
The current goal, said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott, “is to match the number of stations to the number of cars coming in,” and then let the market take over.
The key to success, she said, is getting car manufacturers to give more motorists the option of conveniently switching to hydrogen cars that release no carbon dioxide or other pollutants.
This Engadget post, which is a good explainer of why hydrogen cars have fans and critics, notes that “a single hydrogen fueling station costs $1 to 2 million because of the challenges in handling liquid hydrogen.”
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.