"Is California’s ‘Hydrogen Highway’ A Road To Nowhere?"

"Soon after Maribel Munoz joined the trailblazing ranks of American owners of hydrogen cars — a group that exists only in California — she began to fear that the low price of the taxpayer-subsidized Toyota Mirai she purchased came with a tremendous cost.

“You can’t have a job and own this car,” said the 49-year-old clothing designer from Azusa. “Finding fuel for it becomes your job. It is constant anxiety. I told the guy at Toyota, ‘If I have a stroke, it’s on you.’”

Munoz found herself stranded with an empty tank on the highway and stressed out by the repeated fuel shortages Mirai drivers call “hydropocalypses.” She struggled not to scream at her phone after driving miles to stations that a hydrogen fueling app said were working just fine, only to find them out of order.

These are the kind of hassles that can come with being an early adopter. But in the case of California’s “Hydrogen Highway” — a network of fueling stations then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger dreamed would lure masses of Americans to hydrogen vehicles — even the most climate-conscious, tech-savvy motorists are asking: What’s the point? The Hydrogen Highway was meant to stretch from coast to coast. But after 17 years, it has yet to make it past the state line."

Evan Halper reports for the Los Angeles Times Aug. 10, 2021, with photography by Carolyn Cole and videography by Jackeline Luna.

Source: LA Times, 08/11/2021