As many of you may know, Hydrogen vehicles are on the rise in the automotive industry. While there is not a current option for the everyday consumer that is powered by the quasi-mythical Hydrogen Fuel cell, whenever the future of transportation is concerned they come into the conversation. However, in order for the industry to make this move, the infrastructure must supply a steady stream of liquid and or gaseous hydrogen and the prices of Hydrogen vehicles must drastically decrease over the next couple years.
This week Toyota unveiled a Hydrogen fuelling station that will be the beginning framework of the infrastructure needed to sell hydrogen powered vehicles. Located in Torrence, California, this station was built to start the process. Toyota is now leasing the land to Shell, who operates and maintains the station, and any customer of the very few in California can come and refuel at the free station. The main distinction between this station and other hydrogen stations around California is how it gets it’s hydrogen.
Unlike others, Toyota’s new fueling station does not get it’s hydrogen from a truck delivery. Instead, the complex receives it’s fuel from an underground pipeline already in place, put there by Air Products. This is a huge step for a hydrogen fueled infrastructure because it allows the station to depend on something as steady as a pipeline.
The price of Hydrogen vehicles is the next thing holding back this advance in technology. Currently, automotive engineers agree that the price of hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles usually hovers around 100,000, which is understandably an unrealistic price for the open market. Instead, Toyota is striving to reach a goal of 50,000 by 2015. By then, they hope to have supplied and integrated the US infrastructure with enough Hydrogen fuelling stations to supply consumers investing in the vehicle.
Hydrogen is, after all, the most abundant element in the universe.