Investigating Hydrogen Station Use and Station Access in California Using a Survey of Fuel Cell Vehicle Drivers


California has set a goal of reaching 100% zero emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035. Most ZEV sales to date have been battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), while fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) make up only a small portion of ZEV sales. The market for FCEVs may be partially constrained because, unlike BEVs and PHEVs, they cannot use any existing infrastructure. This research investigates FCEV drivers use of hydrogen stations in California (of which there are 47 in operation) with the goal of informing the development of hydrogen infrastructure. Hydrogen station use was studied using results from a 2017 survey of 395 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) owners and a 2018 survey of 328 FCEV owners. The results show FCEV drivers use on average 2.4 hydrogen stations. The average shortest distance FCEV owners would need to travel from home, work, or their commute to a hydrogen refueling station was 10 miles. Those whose most-used station was not the closest station available were more likely than those whose most-used station was the closest to use renewable hydrogen, suggesting that some drivers may prefer renewable hydrogen. Currently the percentage of California census block groups with one, two, and three hydrogen stations within 10 miles of households are 52.4%, 25.6%, and 22.5%; these census block groups are concentrated primarily in large metropolitan areas. Finally, 70% of FCEV owners said they would not have purchased the vehicle if their primary station had not been available, pointing the importance of station availability to FCEV adoption

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