Perfect Storm of Hydogen Fuel Crises in Sacramento

Discussion in 'Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles' started by tps5352, Jun 20, 2019.

Has the June 2019 hydrogen fuel crisis soured you on driving a fuel cell vehicle?

  1. Yes. (That's it for me. Tired of limited infrastructure anxieties.)

    100.0%
  2. No. (We are pioneers and it is early days, yet. I still belive in hydrogen technology.)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. No, but we need more dual-fuel options, like the Mercedes plug-in fuel cell car.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Unsure. (Have to wait and see how this pans out.)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Other? (Comment in your replies.)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. tps5352

    tps5352 Member

    I drive a Honda Clarity fuel cell car and am located in Davis (just west of Sacramento). We have (a) the one original (Linde; now Iwatani-purchased) hydrogen fuel pump in West Sacramento and (b & c) two new 2019 (Shell) pumps in Sacramento. Throughout 2017 and most of 2018 (despite there being only one pump in the area) hydrogen availability for me was OK.

    But this month, Pump A (which currently has fuel and I believe depends on deliveries of liquid hydrogen) has been broken for many days. And Pumps B and C (which unfortunately depend on gaseous hydrogen deliveries) have no fuel (because of Santa Clara fire, I assume).

    So due to two separate incidents, fuel cell car drivers in the Sacramento region are currently suffering with NO hydrogen fuel available within a reasonable driving range for an unknown length of time. (It obviously makes little sense to try to drive to Truckee or to the Bay area and back in search of a working pump.)

    I'm afraid I have no updates and no solutions. But I'd be glad to hear from others who may have either. Also, I am interested in how this (presumably temporary) problem has affected drivers' opinions of hydrogen fuel cell car technology (see poll).
     
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Perhaps it is time to craft a letter addressed to the Governor, State Senator, and State Representative. Ask them what is being done to correct this problem.

    They in turn will contact the 'powers that be' which since it comes from elected, State representatives will have more weight than one just from you.

    GOOD LUCK!
    Bob Wilson

    ps. I am not a fan of hydrogen fuel cell cars. I think hydrogen fuel cells have better purposes in other tasks. Regardless, you have my sympathy.
     
  3. tps5352

    tps5352 Member

    Update: As of December 6, 2019 the hydrogen fueling issue near Sacramento is more or less back to "normal." In recent weeks I have seen all three stations (Citrus Heights, Sacramento, and West Sacramento) simultaneously working and adequately stocked with (gaseous or liquid) hydrogen. However, too often one or two of these stations are off-line for various mechanical or supply reasons.

    I must return my leased Honda fuel cell car in May 2020 (at the end of its 3-year lease), and will be looking at non-hydrogen vehicle options. Again, the car itself--the fuel cell version of the Honda Clarity--was more than fine. Very comfortable to drive. But the chronic hydrogen fuel availability issue has grown increasingly tiresome.
     
    bfreejohnson likes this.
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Let me suggest from personal experience:
    • Used BMW i3-REx - after 2014, there were several manufacturing changes. Our 2014 had an 'infantile' problem with motor mount bolt. It was fixed in 2016 under warranty but the 2014 is now out of warranty.
    • Std. Rng. Plus Model 3 - is an awesome car. I understand Tesla also has a lease program.
    You might also look at "www.fueleconomy.gov" using the Power Search function. Also, use eBay completed sales to get a fair, used car price. Within reason, consider a 500 mi search radius and from a credible source, drive the car home. That is how I got our 2014 BMW i3-REx.

    GOOD LUCK!
    Bob Wilson
     
  5. tps5352

    tps5352 Member

    Update: On Saturday, December 7, 2019 I was forced to bring my 2017 Honda Clarity FCV in to the Roseville Honda service center due to a "Low Power" warning on the dash display in front of the steering wheel. (I felt no difference in performance.) They took the car, gave me an Enterprise Car Rental "loaner" (eventually a 2019 gasoline-powered Toyota Camry*) and that is the last I've seen of the Clarity (so far). Apparently there is some problem with the fuel cell stack? Maybe a recall issue? A part or parts have to come from Japan? Seems unusual to have a repair problem lasting this long. But it is an "experiment," (more so because 2017 is the first model-year). It's a drag because, other than the hydrogen fuel issue, I've enjoyed the car itself. (It is a Boomer-mobile, I admit it.) I miss the Honda Garmin GPS map navigation display. (The rental Toyota doesn't have a map display.) And I only have the Honda until May, so I am losing precious time together with it. One more nail in the coffin for the three-year Honda Clarity experience.

    Have I complained publicly too much; is this retribution from Honda?

    I did manage to squeeze out some lemonade from a bad situation and upgraded the free rental "loaner" to a 2018 Tesla Model S (just for 10 days). I really enjoyed that car and the Tesla experience. (Acceleration = OMG! And I did not even have the perormance version.) My self-installed home NEMA 14-50 receptacle installation worked perfectly. (I subsequently replaced the 50-amp circuit breaker with a Square D 50-amp GFI breaker, per code requirements for an outdoor outlet, so hopefully that will be OK in the future.)

    And my research on perhaps buying/leasing a Tesla Model X or S continues. That is fun, but somewhat nerve-wracking. It is a big investment. Meanwhile, Tesla keeps updating its cars, charging accessories,...everything. Rumors of 3-motor versions later in 2020. And new, exciting cars from other manufacturers appear to be just over the horizon (maybe). Tesla leasing is expensive (I can't claim a business deduction), or else I would go that route for 3 years.
    _________
    * The Camry is interesting because you can drive with the automatic transmission, or switch to "Sport" mode and change gears (no clutch, of course) with either back-of-the-steering-wheel paddle controls or by using the center console shift lever. So I can pretend to be F-1's Lewis Hamilton with the paddle controls.
     
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  6. tps5352

    tps5352 Member

    Should anyone have the desire/tolerance to look at practice financial comparisons (among purchase, loan-finance, lease options) using as an example a Tesla Model X, I started a thread here (to aid my own decision-making process):

    https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/thr...ns-an-important-decision.182071/#post-4406005

    For the Model 3, the lessons/conclusions might be similar, even though the dollar figures will usually be smaller.

    Leasing is attractive to me for a rapidly-evolving high-tech product like the Tesla that I might want to exchange for a new, better version (updated Model X; Model Y; or even another brand) in the near future. But unfortunately leasing may only make financial sense for people with the opportunity to claim a healthy business deduction on their tax returns. Nonetheless I am open to all reasonable possibilities. Meanwhile, there are (always) rumors of new Tesla mods and other stuff coming in 2020 and beyond.
     
    bfreejohnson likes this.
  7. tps5352

    tps5352 Member

    Update #2: After 2 1/2 months the car has finally been repaired. Waiting now for the refueling process to be completed (complicated by the fact that the hydrogen fuel system had been completely emptied and flushed with helium) and car checked out completely (and software reset) before return on Saturday or Monday.

    Apparently, some, most, or even all of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 (unclear to me if all years affected) Honda Clarity FCVs are subject to internal fuel cell stack corrosion caused by a software problem. Honda is deciding to make the (very expensive) repairs on a case-by-case basis, probably influenced by mileage, general condition, and previous repair history. Repairs are (slowly/carefully) taking place at the 12 authorized northern and southern California service centers.

    As I've said elsewhere, we were told by Honda that this is still an experimental program. I wonder if the Toyota or Hyundai power units have been similarly affected? If the problem is ultimately due to a software glitch, it may be exclusively a Honda difficulty; I don't know.

    Despite the fact that the West Sacramento hydrogen fueling station is still having mechanical problems, I may extend the Honda Clarity lease for just one more year in order to see what happens with Tesla Model S and X cars (e.g., new releases, changes in price, upgrades), if anything.
     
    bfreejohnson likes this.
  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    You might want to take a peek at the Model Y.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  9. tps5352

    tps5352 Member

    Will definitely be doing that when they are available to see.
     
  10. tps5352

    tps5352 Member

    Just picked up the Honda Clarity. Hopefully all is now well with it. Fingers crossed.
     
    gooki likes this.

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