Today, Toyota announced the opening of the first hydrogen fueling station fed from a pipeline for vehicles in the United States. The hydrogen fueling station in California is to be used as part of the Toyota fuel cell hybrid demonstration program (as well as for fueling other hydrogen powered vehicles), leading up to the release of Toyota‘s first hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicle by 2015.
How does a hydrogen powered vehicle work?
A hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle works much the same as the electric vehicles that are starting to hit the market – the big difference is a hydrogen car has a fuel cell, whereas an electric car like the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf will have a lithium-ion battery. Compared to traditional cars that run on gas, hydrogen cars are cleaner for the environment, quieter, and more efficient with the fuel they use.
The new Hydrogen Fueling Station
The new hydrogen fueling station is a joint effort between Toyota, Shell, Air Products, the Department of Energy, and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The station, located in the LA area (in Torrance, near the Toyota Motor Sales campus), receives all of its hydrogen through a pipeline in an effort to show that this type of supply is a viable option for future stations.
The California Hydrogen Highway Initiative
With the opening of the new hydrogen vehicle fueling station, the City of Torrance is now part of the California Hydrogen Highway initiative, which is pushing for more clean-air transportation solutions across the state of California, as well as a way to create green jobs. The installation of the new hydrogen fueling station will undoubtedly increase the profile of hydrogen vehicles in the state, and in turn give a great boost to the California Hydrogen Highway Initiative.
Toyota’s Fuel Cell Hybrid Demonstration Program
To test the abilities of hydrogen fuel cell cars, Toyota has had a fleet driving fuel cell hybrid vehicles since 2002. Since they first hit the road, expected range for the vehicles has grown significantly from 130 miles to 431 miles – with just one fueling of hydrogen. The technology involved with the cars is getting better every year, which makes Toyota’s goal of releasing a hydrogen fuel call car to the market by 2015 a reasonable estimate. The only issue will be ensuring there are enough pipeline-fed fueling stations across the country to support the cars.