Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Readiness

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Readiness in Humboldt County

Click through the accordions below to read through the Frequently Asked Questions about FCEVs.

An FCEV uses compressed hydrogen gas as its fuel, which is then fed into a fuel cell in the car to combine with oxygen to form water. This process generates electricity, which is harnessed to run a motor, and water vapor, which is the only emission from an FCEV.

The state of California classifies FCEVs as “zero emission vehicles”. FCEVs are quiet and fuel efficient, just like EVs, however, they have much longer ranges (up to 360 miles!) and take only 3-5 minutes to refuel.

Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai all make fuel cell model passenger cars that are commercially available.

You can only buy FCEVs in areas with hydrogen fueling stations. Currently, most fueling stations are in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Fueling stations are coming soon to the New York City, Connecticut, and Boston areas as well.

We hope so! RCEA is currently working on a grant from the California Energy Commission to identify sites for hydrogen fueling stations for medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles, and previous reports have identified priority locations for hydrogen fueling stations for both commercial and residential uses.

There are a couple of ways. The first is through a process called electrolysis. This involves running an electric current through water to separate it into its components, hydrogen and oxygen. Clean power, such as solar energy, is frequently used to run this process. The other is called steam-methane reformation, which reacts steam with natural gas and a catalyst to make hydrogen.

There are lots of resources about hydrogen and FCEVs online, and a great place to start is with the statewide experts in FCEVs, the California Fuel Cell Partnership.

33% of hydrogen in California must be produced via renewable energy, but steam methane reformation is another common production method.

Steam methane reformation applies extreme heat to methane (CH4) to produce hydrogen via the following chemical reaction:

CH4 (methane) + H2O (water) <-> CO (carbon monoxide) +H2 (hydrogen)

Hydrogen is the obvious product we harness for FCEVs. The carbon monoxide is typically burned to extract extra energy, and produces carbon dioxide upon combustion.

There are innovative carbon monoxide clean-up systems used in some factories which produce hydrogen, but generally speaking, the CO ends up as CO2.


In March 2019, RCEA and SERC completed the North Coast and Upstate Fuel Cell Vehicle Readiness Project. This project supports the successful introduction of fuel cell vehicles throughout the eight-county North Coast and Upstate regions by catalyzing a regional fuel cell vehicle market and planning for the deployment of hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

For more details you can view the summary reports below. A final report which integrates these summary reports is forthcoming.

North Coast and Upstate Regional Hydrogen Infrastructure Plan

This report summarizes an analysis completed by RCEA which identifies areas in our region that are identified as priority locations for station development

Promotion of FCEV Use Summary Report

This report summarizes the education and outreach efforts completed by SERC and RCEA to increase public awareness about fuel cell electric vehicles and fueling technology.

Fleet Engagement Summary Report

This report summarizes fleet engagement efforts completed by SERC and RCEA to evaluate opportunities for FCEV purchases and fuel commitments by entities in the North Coast and Upstate region.

Micrositing Analysis Summary Report

This report, a follow-up to the Regional Hydrogen Infrastructure Plan, summarizes an analysis completed by SERC which identifies more specific sites for station development within our region.

Site Readiness Summary Report

This report, best read in conjunction with the Micrositing Analysis Summary Report, summarizes specific station development readiness efforts Eureka and Redding.

Here are some other community resources:

Safety and Permitting

Use these buttons to see hydrogen and fuel cell resources related to safety and permitting for specific groups. Resources for permitting officials will be added soon. General information can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions section.


Use the button below to view resources related to incentives, available FCEV models, and training resources for fleet operators and managers. If you have specific questions about how to incorporate a fuel cell electric vehicle, or other electric vehicle, into your fleet please call RCEA at 707-269-1700 and ask to talk to our Transportation Specialist.

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