This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 28, 2004

Executive Order Launches California's "Hydrogen Highways"

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order on April 20th that creates a public and private partnership to build a "hydrogen highway" in the state by 2010. The Hydrogen Highway Network initiative aims to speed the transition to a hydrogen transportation economy in California by building a network of 150 to 200 hydrogen fueling stations throughout the state—roughly one every 20 miles on the state's major highways. The order also calls on the California Environmental Protection Agency to develop a plan by year-end for the state's transition to a hydrogen economy. Thanks to the efforts of California agencies and transit systems, several automakers, and the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), 13 hydrogen-fueling stations are already in place in the state, and 17 more are in the planning stages. The CaFCP and others estimate that the full network will cost roughly $90 million, mostly coming from private investment by energy companies, automakers, high-technology firms, and other companies. See the governor's announcement and executive order on the new California Hydrogen Highway Web site.

As a recent example of such public and private efforts, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. recently delivered two of its FCX fuel-cell vehicles to San Francisco. Honda is leasing the vehicles to the city for a year with an option for a second year, and the city is planning to create a hydrogen-refueling infrastructure to support daily use of the vehicles by city officials. Honda will also start road-testing its latest FCX vehicles on California roads later this month, using its innovative new home-refueling system as a hydrogen source. See the April 7th and April 13th press releases from Honda.

The hydrogen highway concept isn't limited to California: the Canadian government plans to build a hydrogen highway in British Columbia from Vancouver to Whistler, about 80 miles north. The Illinois 2 H2 Partnership has also proposed to build a hydrogen highway along Interstate 90, which traverses the state. See the Natural Resources Canada press release and the Illinois 2 H2 Partnership report (PDF 1.18 MB). Download Acrobat Reader.