Toyota’s bet on the death of the internal combustion engine seems to be paying off for the automaker.
Toyota, along with Honda, Shell and other transportation and energy giants, has pledged to invest $1.5 billion a year in hydrogen and fuel cell products and has been a leader in advancing what it calls the “hydrogen society.” The automaker launched the first mass-market fuel cell car in 2015 and is working to develop hydrogen fueling stations and infrastructure around the globe.
Yesterday Toyota said that it, in partnership with Shell, will build seven hydrogen fueling stations in California, with help from $16.4 million in grants from the California Energy Commission for these stations. Shell and Toyota’s contribution will be $11.4 million, Bloomberg reports.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can help fleet owners reduce emissions and meet air pollution standards, but not without a network of hydrogen fueling stations across the US. In California, Toyota has partnered with First Element Fuels to build and operate 19 fueling stations across the state, Green Car Congress reports. Toyota is also working with Air Liquide to develop 12 hydrogen stations in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Close to 5,000 hydrogen fueling stations will be deployed globally by 2032, according to a report by Information Trends. In comparison, there were 285 at the end of 2016.
In the US, there will be 78 hydrogen fueling stations by the end of this year and 1,208 by 2032, the report says.
“Providing accessible, reliable and convenient refueling is key to mainstream adoption of fuel cell vehicles,” said Craig Scott, Toyota Motor North America advanced technology vehicle senior manager, in a statement about the Shell-Toyota partnership. “The team of Toyota and Shell will bring us one step closer to a hydrogen society.”
Added Oliver Bishop, Shell’s hydrogen general manager: “Hydrogen electric vehicles could play an important role in improving air quality while offering convenience to motorists. This kind of collaboration between government and industry is central to making hydrogen a reality.”
In other efforts to advance hydrogen fleets, late last month Honda and General Motors said they will invest $85 million initially to produce fuel cell cars in the US.
And earlier this month Plug Power shipped the first production ProGen fuel cell engines for use in electric delivery vehicles. The company told Next-Gen Transportation News that the first deliveries of production ProGen engines will function as range extenders in electric FedEx Freight delivery vans in the greater Los Angeles area, doubling the vehicles’ range.