Honda and FirstElement Fuel Building 12 Hydrogen Stations in California
Last week, when Honda unveiled the new FCV Concept in Japan, the Asian automaker stated it would announce plans for expanding California’s public hydrogen refueling station network at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Sure enough, Honda made good on its word, announcing in LA the company’s plan to contribute $13.8 million to FirstElement Fuel for the building of “at least” 12 hydrogen stations in California.
“FirstElement Fuel is providing a vital piece of what is needed for a successful launch of fuel-cell vehicles,” said Steven Center, the vice president of Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office. “Through this collaboration, FirstElement will enable our customers to experience hydrogen refueling that is as reliable, convenient and consumer-friendly as the vehicles are.”
FirstElement has already received $27 million in grants from California, and the state plans to invest $200 million over the next several years into hydrogen station development. Honda’s investment and anticipated future grants will expand FirstElement’s network of stations to at least 31 in total. By 2024, the state hopes there will be 100 hydrogen stations in California.
“This is an extremely positive step forward for the advancement of fuel-cell vehicles in the State of California,” said FirstElement Fuel CEO Joel Ewanick. “We’re so grateful for the confidence that Honda has shown in our team, and for Honda’s leadership in the development and deployment of fuel-cell vehicles.”
Honda’s fuel-cell vehicle is expected to go on sale in Japan in March 2016, followed by launches in Europe and the US.