Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) are zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and their widespread adoption may help to mitigate some of the issues arising from fossil-fuel usage in the transportation sector. Only in recent years have these vehicles become available for purchase or lease in the United States, and only within the State of California. In 2018, nearly 5,500 HFCVs had been sold or leased in California, supported by a developing refueling infrastructure there. This population represents a unique opportunity, as previous studies on HFCV adoption have largely employed hypothetical stated preference surveys distributed to likely adopters. Seeking to investigate the real experiences of actual adopters from their own perspectives, semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 early adopters of HFCVs in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Thematic content analysis of these interviews was conducted to identify the prevalence of factors deductively derived from published literature. All respondents considered lifetime cost of vehicle ownership, engaged in comparison shopping, and assessed the adequacy of the refueling infrastructure by various geographical criteria. Environmental concerns motivated many respondents to pursue HFCV adoption, though only if it made financial sense. Respondents chose HFCVs over battery electric vehicles after consideration of range, refueling time, and cost. Early HFCV adopters consistently cast their adoption of the technology as a contribution to a diverse ZEV marketplace. Strategies for the promotion of HFCV technology must account for this range of variation in early-adopter motivations, concerns, and behaviors which might complicate targeted HFCV promotion strategies
On October 7, 2019, the Connecticut Fuel Cell Coalition hosted a workshop on hydrogen station mapping for the Greater Hartford region. The workshop was led by a team from Arizona State University, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Southern California as part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation that is studying consumer uptake of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and hydrogen refueling station network planning strategies nationwide. Seventeen local and national stakeholders in the transportation, energy, and environmental fields representing industry, government, universities, and non-profit organizations participated. The participants used an online collaborative mapping (“geodesign”) tool called Collablocation to propose, vet, negotiate, and recommend a network of hydrogen refueling stations to support the initial rollout of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the area. After three stages of modeling and negotiation, the workshop reached consensus on six stations to add to the existing station in Wallingford and the station under construction on Leibert Road north of downtown Hartford at the I-91 Jennings Road exit. The group recommended a first phase consisting of three new stations in Glastonbury, Manchester, and West Hartford, primarily to serve the consumer FCV market. Common strengths of the first three locations were good access to and from busy freeways, locations near major trip generators and employers, and proximity to residential populations matching known early adopter demographics. A second phase would add stations near Bradley International Airport, Cromwell, and Plantsville. The group agreed that priority next steps beyond this initial mapping workshop include: continued collaboration, government leadership, public-private funding, prioritizing green sources of hydrogen, and being ready to submit proposals for station development.