Former Hyundai and General Motors marketing executive Joel Ewanick’s newest endeavour — a hydrogen fuel filling station network called FirstElement Fuel Inc. — has won a $27.6 million grant from the California Energy Commission, allowing Ewanick to move forward with the startup.
Automotive News reports FirstElement will install 19 filling stations throughout California at existing filling stations, including a few locales considered unprofitable:
We’re putting some stations in areas that will not be profitable. We did that to demonstrate that customers will have the ability to use their cars anywhere in California, same as a gasoline-powered car. It will be a true network.
The stations will initially receive hydrogen via delivery, with the capability to produce the alternative fuel on-site down the road.
Ewanick also has eyes on the Northeastern United States, as several states have adopted California’s clean air standards as their own. In the meantime, his 19-station network is part of 28 total stations that will open thanks to funding from the CEC, joining the nine fully operational and 17 under-construction stations already in California as the state marches toward its goal of 100 such units by the end of the decade.