Hydrogen car owners impacted by closure of Hyundai Nexo, Toyota Mirai, and Honda Clarity.
The hydrogen industry has been greatly affected by Shell’s recent announcement to shut down all seven of its pumping stations in California. According to Andrew Beard, vice president of Shell Hydrogen, the decision was made as a result of “hydrogen supply complications and other external market factors.”
According to a recent study by Hydrogen Insight, Shell has shown minimal efforts towards expanding its network of light-duty hydrogen stations, despite the fact that the company currently operates three hydrogen filling stations for heavy-duty vehicles in the state. Due to its superior energy density, hydrogen is widely considered as an optimal fuel for heavy-duty vehicles, and companies like Hyundai have already entered this market.
South Korean car manufacturer, Hyundai, additionally provides a compact crossover called the Nexo, which runs on hydrogen and can accommodate up to five passengers. This vehicle was introduced in the United States in 2018. The recent announcement by Shell to close down their filling stations may have an impact on Nexo owners, as well as owners of Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity vehicles. As a result, it is possible that there will be longer waiting periods at hydrogen stations due to potential breakdowns or lack of fuel supply.
Despite their potential benefits, hydrogen-powered cars may struggle to compete with the growing popularity of electric vehicles. A partnership between Shell and Volta has resulted in a significant expansion of EV charging stations, further diminishing the appeal of hydrogen cars. Data from the California Energy Commission confirms this trend, as only 3,143 hydrogen cars were registered in the year 2023 – a meager fraction compared to the number of battery-electric vehicles registered during the same time period.
Despite this, Honda remains committed to expanding the hydrogen market by introducing a new hydrogen-powered CR-V later this year, in the footsteps of the now-discontinued Clarity.
Collaborating with General Motors, Honda is set to utilize the latest generation hydrogen powertrain, which is expected to result in reduced production costs, enhanced functionality, and doubled longevity. These advancements are intended to attract a larger number of buyers to the market. The Japanese car manufacturer has set a target of selling 2,000 units annually for their newly developed fuel cell system.
Currently, Shell is recommending impacted clients to visit the California Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership website in order to find accessible refueling spots. The portal indicates whether the listed stations in California are operational, restricted, or out of service.