May 23, 2019
  • 12:41 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 12:31 pm FOR JAMI
  • 12:30 pm Tenure on Track?
  • 12:27 pm MBA In Limbo
  • 12:23 pm Reflections From a Departing Editor

By Gary Fong
Staff Writer

You can’t see, smell, taste or feel it, but it’s everywhere, and without it, life, and probably this  very universe, wouldn’t exist. It’s hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, one that makes  up more than 90 percent of all matter, according to a 2015 article on livescience.com, referencing scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

Being the naturally curious creatures we are, humans have figured out lots of things to do with hydrogen, from powering the first hot air balloons and using it to create everyone’s favorite culinary  delight, trans fats, to using it in bombs that could be 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic ones  dropped on Japan during World War II. 

 Yet, oddly enough, for all the destructive power that humans can harness hydrogen for, it could also be the key to helping create the cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicles we’ve ever seen. Fuel Cell  Electric Vehicles (FCEV) takes oxygen and hydrogen’s energy carrying structure and converts it into electricity that can  power the motor of a car. Unlike burning gasoline, which produces carbon and other polluting emissions  that—sorry, climate deniers—the vast majority of scientists agree contribute to climate change, hydrogen’s only emission is water. That makes it so clean, according to  the U.S. Department of Energy, that using only hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could reduce harmful pollutants by 50 to 90  percent. 

Yet, hydrogen fuel cells have been a tough sell.  

In 2009, there was a signed agreement between seven major auto manufacturers to develop and  market FCEVs to create low to zero-emission vehicles. 

Ten years later, fewer than 4,000 of these vehicles  have been sold. Toyota’s Mirai, available since 2015, dominates, with 3,000 on the roads. That is 80 percent of all FCEVs sold in the U.S., all of which are in California. 

So why aren’t environmentally conscious people, including millennials in college, not flocking to them? A big reason is price. According to the Digital Trends website, www.digitaltrends.com, there are only two options available: The Mirai and the Honda Clarity, both of which have sticker prices of more  than $58,000. 

The fuel is also more expensive. Toyota estimates the Mirai can get 312 miles per full tank. But that tank can only carry 5 kilograms of hydrogen and current pricing is $13.99 per kilo, which means $70 to fill it up.  

Then again, FCEV dealers are offering buyers three years of complimentary fuel, but that isn’t enough to outweigh the high purchasing cost, even for students who might want nothing more than to  reduce their carbon footprint. 

There’s also the issue of infrastructure. The CSUDH Office of Sustainability, founded two years ago, is all about being eco-conscious, but the campus is still trying to fully transition from “traditional gas-power vehicles and equipment to electric,” according to the campus’ Sustainability Coordinator Ellie Perry. 

We  don’t really have the current infrastructure for hydrogen,” Perry said. The campus is working on adding  more EV charging stations and, as far as the future goes, “we’re always open to technologies and  projects that will help the campus green its environmental footprint,” said Perry.

Although a student would need to have two or three jobs to purchase one, I would recommend test driving the Mirai if one is interested in the technology. 

Only a few dealerships in the area sell and/or service the Mirai. They are Toyota of Santa Monica, Longo Toyota in El Monte, Toyota of Orange,  and Tustin Toyota. You need to contact one of these dealers and schedule a test drive.  

That’s what I did recently. And I wasn’t disappointed. Sitting in the driver’s seat, you can see the speedometer and visual cluster are mounted high on the dashboard, so you do not have to look down too far to check your numbers.

Entertainment and climate controls are all within easy reach and some controls can either be manipulated  manually or on the touch screen. 

I barely stepped on the gas and the car sprinted forward immediately without hesitation from the 151-horsepower electric engine. I was pleasantly surprised at the power and the incredibly smooth ride as the suspension used on the Mirai is the same technology Toyota uses in its Lexus luxury car line. Steering and handling were smooth, responsive, and easy enough for anyone to drive.

But though it’s a fine ride and you’re doing the planet and everything living on it a favor by driving, there’s still a way to go before consumers truly embrace FCEVs. And the main reason may not even be the price of the vehicles or the fuel, but the inconvenience. 

Currently, there are only  39 FCEV fueling stations in California with 25 more in development, according to cafcp.org, and until the supply of fueling stations increases, the demand for the vehicles may stay miniscule

“Right now most people that buy these vehicles buy them because they live within five miles of a refueling station or find them along the path to their workplace, said Dante Winters Internet/Fleet Manager, of Toyota of Orange. “ The more stations open the more hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will sell.”

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