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Fuel Cell Vehicles: First Hydrogen Fueling Network Stretches Across California

It’s the classic chicken-or-the-egg question. If attempting to revolutionize the auto industry, do you introduce the car or the supporting infrastructure first? For Joel Ewanick, the answer was obvious – get the infrastructure in place.

Ewanick, CEO of FirstElement Fuel Inc., is bringing hydrogen fueling stations to California under the consumer-facing brand True Zero to encourage mass adoption of the zero emission vehicle option. FirstElement Fuel selected Black & Veatch to engineer, permit and construct the hydrogen fueling stations across California. The project currently represents the largest retail hydrogen network in the world. It’s backed by grants from the California Energy Commission and by loans from Toyota and Honda.

“Since the early 1960s, hydrogen has been one of the ‘Holy Grails’ of the automotive industry,” Ewanick said. Now, he noted, major car manufactures are in the beginning stages of introducing the world’s next generation of vehicles powered by fuel cells.

“True Zero symbolizes the ultimate goal – a vehicle fuel with zero pollution, zero use of fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases in both its production and use. It’s about the drive toward zero emissions from well to wheels – toward zero impact on the environment from a motor vehicle.”

Joel Ewanick, CEO of FirstElement Fuel Inc

@black_veatch