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The stations will nudge the state closer to its goal of having 100 retail sites by 2024 where hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles can fill up. The California Energy Commission is considering $16.4m in grants toward the stations, with Shell and Toyota contributing $11.4m.
The Shell-Toyota partnership “shows there’s a lot of interest and that the hydrogen market is poised to move forward rapidly,” said Janea Scott, a member of the California commission.
Toyota plans to rely on hydrogen to all but rid its lineup of traditional-engine models by 2050. The lack of refueling infrastructure is a major hurdle to zero-emission cars catching on with consumers — California has just 25 stations right now.
Shell also is crafting a strategy to wean itself off oil. Demand could peak in as few as five years, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said in November. The company operates six hydrogen stations — four in Germany and two in the Los Angeles area — and will soon open a seventh near London’s Heathrow Airport.
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