The California Fuel Cell Partnership is committed to promoting fuel cell vehicle commercialization as a means of moving towards a sustainable energy future increasing energy efficiency and reducing or eliminating air pollution and greenhouse gasA gas in Earth's atmosphere that traps heat and can contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide and methane are two GHGs. emissions.
Collaboration is key
Our members collaborate on activities that advance the technology, often creating consensus that saves time, effort and money. For example, California was the first state to designate hydrogen as a transportation fuel. With that designation came a need to immediately set some standards and regulations. CaFCP and its members provided the Department of Measurement Standards with joint input about hydrogen quality regulations, instead of individually submitting conflicting input to the agency. DMS was able to create the regulation in months instead of years.
Some projects, like public outreach and first responder education, are ongoing and involve a team of staff and members. Other projects arise around one issue, like training drivers on how to use the stations. Staff and members come together as a team to address it and, when completed, the project team disbands.
Regardless of the issue or matter, CaFCP and its members are engaged on a day-to-day basis to move fuel cell electric vehicles closer to market.
- Automotive members provide fuel cell passenger vehicles that are placed in demonstration programs, where they are tested in real-world driving conditions.
- Energy members work to build hydrogen stations within an infrastructure that is safe, convenient and fits into the community.
- Fuel cell technology members provide fuel cells for passenger vehicles and transit buses.
- Government members lay the groundwork for demonstration programs by facilitating steps to creating a hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
In January 1999, the California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission joined with six private-sector companies—Ballard Power Systems, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, BP, Shell Hydrogen and ChevronTexaco—to form the California Fuel Cell Partnership. The goal was to demonstrate and promote the potential for electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells as a clean, safe, and practical alternative to vehicles with internal combustion engines. Within a very short time, other government agencies and private businesses became members.
"California has teamed with some of the best automotive manufacturers and energy providers in the world, to develop an exciting new technology that is both environmentally safe and commercially viable." -- former Governor Gray Davis formally announcing the collaboration on April 20,1999
In November 2000, our West Sacramento headquarters opened. The building includes a public gallery, offices, a hydrogen fueling station and indoor service bays for vehicle maintenance. In the beginning, the automakers had just handful of cars-all stationed in Sacramento. Our goal was to see if these fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen could be technically viable. If the answer was no, then CaFCP would close its doors in 2004.
Before the first phase was finished, CaFCP members knew that the technology could succeed. Our membership grew to 33 and they drafted a new set of goals for the next phase of operation, 2004 to 2007. During this period, CaFCP members worked on projects to prove or disprove the commercially viability—would the vehicles, fuels and public policies meet consumer expectations?
CaFCP is now in its fourth phase: preparing for market launch. Our attention has shifted slightly from vehicles to stations as our automaker members prepare to introduce FCEVs to California beginning in 2015. Much remains to be done, and our members remain confident that FCEVs are a crucial part of the transportation mix.
Chair: Robert Bienenfeld
Robert Bienenfeld is Senior Manager, Environment and Energy Strategy for American Honda's Product Regulatory Office. He is responsible for reviewing legislative proposals and regulatory rule-making as it relates to the automobile and its impact on the environment. In addition, Robert is responsible for recommending long-term strategies to address greenhouse gas and energy security issues. Prior to his current position, he was an adviser to Honda's Product Review Committee and was responsible for strategic planning and research. A 30+ year Honda veteran, Robert spent 10 years marketing alternative fuel vehicles and continues advising the company on alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure strategies. He has also been a board member of the Electric Vehicle Association of American (EVAA) and Chair of the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (NGVC). Robert was graduated from St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Acting Executive Director: Bill Elrick
CaFCP is managed by BKi