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Over half of California’s 2050 passenger vehicle fleet will need to be powered by fuel cell vehicles in order to meet California’s goal of reducing passenger vehicle emissions by 80% in 2050, according to a projection [PDF] by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Automakers expect to increase the number of fuel cell vehicles to 53,000 [PDF] in California over the 2015-2017 timeframe, but the 24 [PDF] hydrogen stations currently planned or in operation cannot service this many vehicles. Potential retail fuel providers will be reluctant to invest in infrastructure ahead of significant vehicle deployments. They will likely face initial operating loses until volumes are large enough to make a profit. CARB projects [PDF] that fuel providers would become profitable on a cumulative basis by 2019 or 2020.
On December 8, 2011 CARB proposed an update to the “Clean Fuels Outlet” (CFO) regulation to facilitate hydrogen fueling stations through the changes listed below. In addition to the regulatory approach, CARB continues to work directly with stakeholders to develop a voluntary alternative agreement [PDF]. The CFO is part of CARB’s overall program of promoting clean cars and advanced technology zero emission vehicles.
Specific changes would: