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California hydrogen stations face maintenance, supply problems

by Justin King

Half of Southern California's stations were down for service this week or out of fuel.

Owners of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in California face another refueling headache this week, particularly if they actually use their cars for daily transportation.

Half of Southern California's already-limited hydrogen refueling stations were down for service or out of fuel this week, according to Tire Meets Road.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership map shows the Torrance station closed until Friday for "important maintenance work," while the nearby Long Beach location was "out of fuel" until a delivery this morning. Anaheim, Diamond Bar, West LA and Costa Mesa sites are all listed as "offline." Newport Beach, Fairfax-LA and several others show "limited" availability.

Notably, each storage tank at a hydrogen refueling station is said to contain enough fuel for only 40-50 vehicles.

A few automakers remain publicly optimistic that hydrogen will continue to grow in popularity. The SoCal frustrations suggest energy companies are reluctant to invest in more refueling stations, however. Conversely, potential owners may be reluctant to buy an FCV until more refueling sites are established.

FCVs face increasing competition from pure battery-powered electric vehicles that can be charged at home or at thousands of connections throughout the region.