Hydrogen fueling station
A hydrogen fueling station in Carmel Valley. Photo by Chris Jennewein

California regulators have approved $39.1 million in funding for a slew of new fueling stations for hydrogen-powered cars, including four in San Diego County, officials said Saturday.

A number of automakers are selling electric cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which combine hydrogen with oxygen in the air to generate electricity. The vehicles can be refueled in five minutes and are environmentally clean, producing only water as exhaust.

The new funding, for a total of 123 stations statewide, will “expand California’s early commercial light duty hydrogen refueling and fuel cell electric vehicle markets,” according to the California Energy Commission.

Funds were awarded to three companies — FirstElement, Iwatani and Shell — for 36 stations to service passenger vehicles. Another 87 stations were also recommended for future funding batches.

Currently there is only one station in San Diego County, at Carmel Valley Road and Interstate 5, and one planned at 5494 Mission Center Road in Mission Valley.

The four new stations approved will be at:

  • 1832 W. Washington St., San Diego
  • 1666 First Ave., San Diego
  • 11030 Rancho Carmel Drive, San Diego
  • 7170 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad

The stations are funded by Assembly Bill 8, passed in 2013.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.