A Toyota fuel cell vehicle fills up at a new Shell hydrogen station near Los Angeles.
Toyota is partnering with Shell, among others, to expand the availability of hydrogen to the small but growing fleet of fuel cell-powered vehicles roaming around Southern California.
The new station, near Toyota’s U.S. headquarters, has a critical advantage over the few other hydrogen refueling facilities previously in use. It can tap into the extensive pipeline network that feeds hydrogen to refineries and other industrial users up and down the South Coast of Los Angeles. Until now, facilities either had to produce the gas through such methods as electrolysis, or rely on deliveries of the gas.
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“Building an extensive hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure is a critical step in the successful market launch of fuel cell vehicles,” said Chris Hostetter, group vice president, product and strategic planning, TMS. “We plan to bring a fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015, or sooner, and the infrastructure must be in place to support our customers’ needs.”
With increasing concerns about global warming – as well as the dependence upon imported oil – there’s a growing push to develop alternative power sources for the nation’s automotive fleet. The primary focus, these days, is on battery power, but many experts believe that the ultimate solution is to switch to hydrogen.