One of the biggest criticisms of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is that the fuel needed to power them is essentially nonexistent, save for a handful of stations in California. If First Element Fuel has its way, that will change in a huge way in just five years’ time. Right now, the fuel company is being backed by the state of California as well as Toyota, which is about to launch a production hydrogen model next year, which is called the FCV.
The company told Wards Auto that it is aiming to build about 40 fueling stations and begin turning a profit, fueling expansion and the proliferation of hydrogen stations throughout the United States. Of course, taking the nation by storm will take some time, but establishing enough stations to turn a profit will hopefully only take five years.
The first stations are planned for densely populated areas, with the exception of some locations about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company also plans to establish a hydrogen station somewhere around Lake Tahoe.
The business model calls for transporting the hydrogen via semi-trucks, just like gasoline, and then storing the fuel in tanks at the stations. First Element Fuel says that using a series of pipelines to deliver hydrogen, a plan that has been floated by some, could result in disaster if a line is damaged.
With a slowly growing number of fuel cell vehicles becoming available in California, this announcement will undoubtedly intensify the debate about whether electric or hydrogen cars are the future of mobility. Smoke and possibly flames will shoot out of Elon Musk’s nose holes.
Will hydrogen catch on as a convenient way to power cars without spewing harmful emissions from a tailpipe? Time will tell as First Element’s plan unfolds.