CA fuel-cell owners complain of unreliable hydrogen stations
Most car owners can simply drive a few miles down the road if their choice gas station happens to be closed, but California owners of fuel-cell vehicles are beginning to complain of frustrations when the only local hydrogen stations are out of service.
The California Fuel Cell Partnership currently lists just eight public hydrogen refueling stations open in California. Some Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell buyers allege that the real number is typically even lower, as multiple stations included in the ‘open’ list frequently spend days or weeks out of commission, according to Green Car Reports.
One Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owner claims to have been unable to use his hydrogen-powered crossover for five weeks; all three stations within a 20-minute drive of his home or workplace are said to have been offline for more than a month.
A close look at the CAFCP website shows the statuses of both the Newport Beach and nearby Fountain Valley stations as currently “offline” for H70 and “limited” for H35, suggesting FCV owners may have trouble even getting a partial fill with significantly reduced mileage. If both stations are down, an owner in Irvine who bought a FCV expecting an eight-mile trip to the station now faces a 40-mile drive into Los Angeles to get to the nearest ‘online’ refueling location.
Information posted on FuelCellFuture.org suggests the Fountain Valley station is closed indefinitely due to an alleged “lack of funds.” The UC Irvine location is said to be down for more than two months for equipment upgrades, while the Newport Beach station allegedly won’t be capable of fully filling tanks to the H70 standard until mid-September.
Needless to say, many owners paying $500/month for Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell lease program are not pleased. Hyundai provides free refueling, and several automakers are working with California authorities to build 100 stations in the state before the end of the decade, however the current problems cast doubt on the optimistic goal.
Hyundai has reportedly leased less than 100 hydrogen-powered Tucson crossovers in California so far. Toyota is expected to deliver 200 Mirai sedans before the end of the year.