Senate Bill 643: Clean Hydrogen Fuel Production and Refueling Infrastructure to Support Medium- and Heavy-Duty Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles and Off-Road Applications
September 25, 2023
Transportation Energy (600)
Clean Transportation Program
In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-79-20, which expanded sales and operation targets for medium- and heavy duty (MDHD) zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and off-road applications. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued regulations that are accelerating the transition to zero-emission transportation. The California Energy Commission (CEC) and other agencies are investing in MDHD ZEV infrastructure across the state.
Under Senate Bill 643 (Archuleta, Chapter 646, Statutes of 2021), the CEC has prepared the first of three statewide assessments of the MDHD hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle refueling infrastructure and clean hydrogen fuel production necessary to meet statewide goals and requirements relating to vehicular air pollution. This initial assessment provides an overview of operating and planned MDHD refueling stations and early scenarios of infrastructure requirements. These scenarios use data from CARB’s 2022 Scoping Plan, the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCH2ES) partnership, the California Transportation Commission’s (CTC) staff analysis for SB 671, and a 2022 energy demand planning scenario from the CEC.
The scenarios produced a wide range of results, estimating anywhere from 1 to 602 MDHD stations would be needed by 2030, and by 2035, the range varied from 11 to more than 2,000 MDHD stations. On the supply side, clean hydrogen production is nearly nonexistent in California but is anticipated to grow in the next two years.
At the end of 2022, more than 2,300 MDHD ZEVs are registered in California, and more than 100 of these were fuel cell electric buses. Some transit agencies are using onsite clean hydrogen production to fuel the buses. CARB’s incentive program for commercial MDHD ZEVs has funded 2,162 vehicles of which 46 are fuel cell. To date, the CEC has invested more than $100 million for MDHD hydrogen infrastructure deployment. The CEC will continue to evaluate new information and associated infrastructure requirements as the market develops