Toyota Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is on Hydrogen Fuel

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To help build out its supporting infrastructure that will one day fuel its first mass-market hydrogen car, Toyota (NYSE:TM) is funneling a substantial amount of money into a startup company in California, FirstElement Fuel, led by a GM former marketing chief to speed up the opening of hydrogen-fuel stations in the state. 

Toyota will be putting up at least $7.2 million to back the project, according to letters filed with the California Energy Commission and obtained by Bloomberg, the site said. FirstElement will operate the pumps and sell hydrogen for passenger cars from at least 19 new stations throughout California.

“This is really the first step in creating a fueling network that for the first time allows people to use their cars with no limitations,” Ewanick, FirstElement’s chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg. California offers grants worth $46.6 million for hydrogen-fuel stations, and FirstElement landed the most, with $27.6 million. 

The stations will benefit more than Toyota, however; Hyundai and Honda are also working on their own respective hydrogen powered cars, some arriving as early as this year. However, Toyota has stood out given it’s mainstream ambitions; having brought hybrids into popularity, it’s ready to do the same with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

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