Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

True Zero 

Electric-Vehicle Record Set In California: 1,438 miles in a 24-hour period

Hydrogen Fuel Stations Allow Long Distance Travel


September 23, 2016

True Zero

Pumping hydrogen is much like pumping gas.

The founders of True Zero have completed a scenic drive throughout California in a fuel-cell-electric Toyota Mirai, covering 1,438 miles in a 24-hour period, thus breaking the official Guinness World Record for electric miles driven in 24 hours.

The goal of the drive was to demonstrate how a zero-emission electric vehicle can serve as a replacement for a gasoline vehicle. The car was refueled with four-minute "fill ups" using the True Zero retail hydrogen network between southern and northern California. The mileage mark is expected to become an official record once documentation is submitted and reviewed.

The drive, which started in Long Beach, spanned from sea level to 7200 feet, passed through six of the seven largest cities in California, and crossed the state's boundary into Reno. True Zero's hydrogen charging stations in Long Beach, Harris Ranch/Coalinga, Truckee, Mill Valley, Saratoga and Santa Barbara were used to refuel the cars during the drive, as was a hydrogen charger in Sacramento operated by Linde.

"The point has been made that an electric car can do everything that a gasoline car can do, but with zero emissions," said Joel Ewanick, Chief Executive Officer of First Element Fuel, True Zero's parent company. "All it took was grabbing a credit card, hopping in our Toyota Mirai with its carpool sticker, and charging up at the True Zero hydrogen stations that are open throughout California. And it's possible today thanks to the State of California – the vision of the Energy Commission and Air Resources Board has arrived!

"We did some city driving, we drove through the mountains, we stopped to take photos, we crossed the golden gate bridge, we stopped to talk to reporters, and we even crossed into Reno. The Mirai can go more than 300 all-electric miles on each four-minute charge of True Zero hydrogen, so it was easy to do all of it in 24 hours without any concerns or range anxiety."

Ewanick set off at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday on the initial leg from here to Sacramento where he was relieved by Dr. Shane Stephens, True Zero's Chief Development Officer. Dr. Tim Brown, the company's Chief Operations Officer, took over the wheel in San Jose for the final section.

The first 15 True Zero stations are operational and an additional four are expected to be online by early next year, including San Diego's first hydrogen station slated to open in November.

"The access and convenience of charging with hydrogen throughout California is thanks to the fantastic team that we have built at True Zero to develop and operate this hydrogen network," said Ewanick.

"It's very cool that we were able to show this kind of accomplishment during National Drive Electric Week, he added. "Electric cars are so important to California's environmental goals and we're starting to see the momentum build with fuel cells as part of that electric car mix. In just the last six months our True Zero hydrogen chargers have powered well over a million miles of all-electric driving."

True Zero's hydrogen station network is funded in large part by grants from the California Energy Commission, South Coast AQMD and Bay Area AQMD, as well as financing from automotive firms Toyota and Honda who are first to market with fuel-cell-electric vehicles.

Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz have also announced plans to retail a fuel cell vehicle next year.


According to John O'Dell at

Automotive fuel cells are seen by many as the best bet for widespread replacement of internal combustion engines in the U.S. This is a country where cars and trucks tend to be big. Driving distances also tend to be longer than battery-electric cars can accommodate — or so many motorists think.

The argument for fuel-cell vehicles is pretty simple: A fuel-cell electric system isn't range-constrained like a battery-electric system. Fuel-cell vehicles aren't tethered to charging cords. They carry enough fuel for 250-350 miles of range and their tanks can be refilled as quickly as that of standard vehicles' gasoline tanks. Few think they will replace battery-electric cars, which can make a lot of sense for drivers with short commutes. But they are expected to become a significant part of the alternative-fuel fleet in coming years.

Typically, a fuel-cell system is twice as efficient as a gasoline system. Most of the fuel-cell vehicles coming to market in the next few years will be able to deliver close to 70 miles per kilogram of fuel. That's the equivalent of 70 miles per gallon. There is no established retail price for hydrogen fuel, but most suppliers say $10 per kilogram is about right for the early days of low-volume sales. The price is expected eventually to fall to parity with gasoline.

Additionally, fuel-cell systems are much lighter and smaller than the battery packs that dominate plug-in electric drive systems. That means they can be more easily scaled up without the weight penalties that make plug-in systems impractical for large sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks.

True Zero

First Element Fuel's Chief Operations Officer Dr. Tim Brown, Chief Development Officer Dr. Shane Stephens and Chief Eexecutive Officer Joel Ewanick stop at the True Zero hydrogen-charging station in Truckee, Calif. to fill up their Toyota Mirai fuel-cell cars during their 24-hour record journey of 1,438-miles.

So while battery-electric vehicles tend to be compact and subcompact models with limited range and lengthy recharging times, fuel-cell electric vehicles are quick and easy to refuel. Fuel-cell systems could power everything from minicars to large pickups.

They also are true zero-emissions vehicles, as clean as battery-electric cars on the road. They are also almost as clean on a well-to-wheel basis, says Steve Ellis, American Honda's national fuel-cell marketing manager.

"When the hydrogen is made from natural gas, there are at least 60 percent fewer CO2 emissions on a well-to-wheels basis than from gasoline," he says. "Plus there's a one-to-one alignment with gasoline cars" in terms of range, convenience and, ultimately, the varieties of vehicles you'll be able to get.


The existing Guinness World Record for electric car miles driven in 24-hours is 2142.317 kilometers or 1,331 miles. Other groups also claim to have "unofficially" broken the record for electric miles driven in 24-hours.


Reader Comments

starwarsguy1705 writes:

Brucedp - Not sure that I understand your logic. Yes the mirai uses hydrogen which it converts to electricity, but an EV mainly uses electricity produced by burning coal. Yes you plug an EV into an outlet or charging station, but electricity in the US is produced mainly by coal burning plants. So by your logic EVs are just as dirty. The mirai is not considered a hybrid because it doesn't have an internal combustion engine. Your trying to split hairs where it really doesn't matter.

brucedp writes:

A fuel-cell vehicle (fcv) is not an Electric Vehicle (EV). A fcv does not plug into an electric power source. A gas car replenishes its energy with gasoline. A NatGas (cng, ch4) car replenishes it energy with high pressure cng. An EV plugs into electric power to replenish its electrical energy. Today's fcv's operate off hydrogen (h2) that is made from ch4 (and no one is saying what happens to the carbon gunk left over after reforming ch4). Plus that ch4 most likely came from a fracked well (fracking ruins Mother Earth, injecting long-lived nasties into her). No, an fcv is not an EV because fcv's energy comes from fossil chemical fuel like an old-school hybrid (hev, like the 1st Prius). An fcv should be lumped with all the other hybrids which only have a few EV components. . . EVLN EV-newswires: . {}


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019