As automakers gear up to release even limited numbers of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, perhaps the biggest struggle will be getting infrastructure in place.
Electric vehicles have pretty much the same problem right now, with limited opportunities for fast charging on the road. Efforts are well under way, but this is mostly on the part of private organizations and doesn’t seem to have much backing by the state.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could be a better choice than electric vehicles since they can fuel up in just a few minutes as opposed to nearly an hour. Aside from some wild pricing, the only other problem is the lack of infrastructure.
Right now, there are just over 200 hydrogen fuel stations in the world. And it’s taking some states a little while to get behind these project. California, a state with just 38 million people and the US’ biggest automobile market, is well ahead of the curve, planning some 70 hydrogen fuel stations by 2016. This is pretty good timing considering that Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and others plan on producing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles starting in 2015.
Japan isn’t too far behind, and last month the first hydrogen fuel station went live in Kanagawa Prefecture. This is the first of 40 stations planned in the Tokyo area on the so-called Hydrogen Highway. This was just the start, and other entities are getting involved, including automakers, regulators, and even the supposedly anti-green petroleum companies. By 2015, Japan expects to have a total of 100 hydrogen fuel stations in the country.