California's Energy Commission (CEC) has approved a plan today will invest up to $115m to significantly increase the number of fuelling stations to support hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The funding nearly doubles the State's investments to date and will help California nearly achieve its goal to deploy 200 public hydrogen fuelling stations.

The plan also supports Governor Gavin Newsom's executive order phasing out the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles by 2035, by providing essential infrastructure to meet the fuelling needs of the increasing number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) anticipated on the road in the next decade. 

While battery electric vehicles (BEV) are the most common ZEV in the State, more than 8,000 FCEVs have also been leased or sold.

Through the plan, up to 111 new hydrogen fuelling stations will be built in the State by 2027, including many designed for multi-use by passenger vehicles, trucks and buses. Total project funding is subject to annual approval of both the State budget and allocations from the CEC.

To date, the CEC has funded 45 open retail hydrogen stations with an additional 16 in construction. Altogether with the approved plan, there could be up to 179 stations in the State, including seven privately funded stations.

Commissioners awarded three grants totalling nearly US$25m for the installation of the first 30 stations with the plan. More than half of the stations approved will be built in or near disadvantaged communities.

"We are proud to support these important infrastructure projects to ensure fuelling is available as more Californians choose clean cars and trucks," said CEC Commissioner, Patty Monahan. "As the zero-emission vehicle market grows, drivers need to feel confident they can refuel their vehicles, whether they are downtown or driving across the State."

The grants were awarded through the CEC's Clean Transportation Programme, which invests more than US$100m annually to support transportation-related innovations and accelerate the development and deployment of advanced transportation and fuel technologies. Around US$20m from the programme – the maximum allowable in State law – is invested each year to support an initial network of at least 100 public hydrogen stations.

The Clean Transportation Programme is one of the first transportation-focused funding efforts established to help advance the State's climate change policies. Now in its 12th year, the programme has provided nearly US$900m to projects across the State covering a broad spectrum of alternative fuels and technologies.  

According to the California Air Resources Board, the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of the State's carbon pollution, 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of toxic diesel emissions.