- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Led by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state of California plans to invest $54 million to help build a network of up to 100 hydrogen fueling stations statewide within five years. Details were made available in a newly released Hydrogen Highway plan, put together by a team of more than 200 scientists.
If lawmakers approve funding, it would put the state well ahead of programs planned in 13 other states that are also pursuing hydrogen initiatives. Theoretically, vehicles using hydrogen would only emit water vapor in their exhaust. The results would help reduce greenhouse gases and smog problems that plague the state.
Approximately a year ago, Schwarzenegger proposed establishing over 200 stations at 20-mile intervals. However, the experts consulted on the plan advised it would be best to group the stations around larger population centers, at least at first. The plan set a goal of 250 stations statewide in Phase 2 by 2015.
While nearly every major automobile manufacturer has developed a hydrogen-powered vehicle, they are currently being leased to government fleets or universities and none are for sale to consumers. Proponents claim that such a plan would stimulate the growth of the industry while skeptics claim the technology is still decades away and current costs are too high.