On June 26, the first retail hydrogen fueling station opened in Los Angeles, California. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl was one of the first customers who pulled up and filled a Chevrolet Equinox, which emits nothing but water vapor when driven. Currently there are approximately 100 hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles on the road in California but the hope is that stations that offer hydrogen will show the public that hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles can become mainstream. All of these vehicles are part of the California Fuel Cell Partnership which are experimental programs run by motor companies. Since all of the vehicles are currently part of an experiment, there is no charge for the hydrogen. There are 25 other hydrogen stations in California but the Shell station near Interstate 405 is the first retail station that offers both regular fuel and hydrogen.
Auto makers have stated that, “a key hurdle to mass producing the [hydrogen powered fuel-cell] cars is the cost and lack of hydrogen filling stations.” The goal is to develop the “Hydrogen Highway” which will be a network of fuel stations that offer hydrogen in order to promote the commercialization of hydrogen powered cars. According to Analisa Bevan, chief of the sustainable transportation technology branch of the California Air Resources Board, in order to bring these vehicles into the mainstream a hydrogen station infrastructure must be built. Automakers believe that “about 10 stations would work well to support early users of hydrogen, and then growing that network to about 40 stations would meet the needs of the vast majority of Los Angeles-area drivers.” Through a $7.7 million contribution the Air Resources Board will help fund 3 additional hydrogen fueling stations