Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai owners in Southern California can’t fill up their Hydrogen cars thanks to Hydrogen fuel shortage.
Update 8/3– Supply is back to normal.
With only two dozen or so open Hydrogen refueling stations in Southern California supplied by one producer, any problem in Hydrogen production spells disaster for Hydrogen powered car owners. According to off-hand reports from Honda Clarity owners on VTEC.net and the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Owners group on Facebook, an issue with Hydrogen production at Air Products, the official Hydrogen supplier of the majority of the Hydrogen stations in Southern California, means most if not all SoCal Hydrogen stations are empty.
A quick check on California Fuel Cell’s official website lists all the open and closed stations including the fuel levels at any given moment. According to the latest information, as of 8 P.M. today, it looks like most of Orange County doesn’t have an operational station.
Some Mirai and Clarity owners on Twitter are pointing blame at Air Products who fill these stations as Hydrogen fuel is produced. As per one FCV owner, this hydrogen shortage first popped up around July 11.
@airproducts Do you have a statement for the many fuel cell drivers who have been affected by the system failure at your hydrogen supply plant which has caused a hydrogen shortage in many Southern California hydrogen fueling stations?
— Nom de Guerre (@peindredeguerre) July 18, 2018
It took one Honda Clarity owner close to an hour to fill up at UC Irvine’s refueling station.
I went to UCI at 11:00AM to fuel up. Ahead of me was a Clarity and two Mirai. By the time I got to fuel up, there were SIX Mirai behind me. Three of those Mirai were brand new, no plates yet.
A year ago, before the Mirai onslaught, I could go during the day to UCI and fill up. Today, it took me 50 minutes to fill up…
Although you can only lease Toyota Mirai’s and Honda Clarity’s at the moment, for some leasees, the opportunity to not pay ANY fuel costs for up to three years was a something they couldn’t pass up. Sure, for three years you pay $370 a month, but with Honda and Toyota offering free Hydrogen refueling cards, Hydrogen cars suddenly made perfect sense.
The only problem, as illustrated by this latest refueling nightmare, is if there’s a problem anywhere between hydrogen production and delivery at the stations.
With so few stations, increasing sales of Clarity and Mirai and subsidized refueling already straining current station capacity, it was a disaster in the making.
It’s clear that hydrogen refueling and its growing infrastructure have a long way to go.
I’ve reached out to a representative of UCI’s refueling station for some insight on this issue and will update this post accordingly.
Hopefully, Air Products gets this sorted out soon.