Hydrogen pump
A hydrogen dispenser in Mission Valley. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Early adopters of clean-air vehicles powered by hydrogen now have a second filling station in San Diego County after a years-long wait.

Four hydrogen dispensers came online in early May at a renovated Mobil station on Mission Center Road at Friars Road.

When hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles first became available in California in 2017, there was only one station in the county, a Shell franchise in Carmel Valley with one dispenser. Waiting lines grew, and the station was listed as “near capacity” in annual state reports.

In September 2020, the California Energy Commission announced funding under Assembly Bill 8 for four additional hydrogen filling stations in the county.

So far the station in Mission Valley is the only one of the four that has opened. Stations in Carlsbad, Poway and Mission Hills are listed as “in permitting.”

California is a major proponent of fuel cell technology for vehicles, and has committed to having 100 filling stations operating statewide by 2025.

The vehicles made by Toyota, Hyundai and others use compressed hydrogen to create electricity in a chemical process that produces only water as exhaust.

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