SoCalGas among first US utilities to transition its over-the-road fleet with hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles

Source: press release, 20 January 2022

SoCalGas has taken delivery of 23 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles
SoCalGas has taken delivery of 23 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (photo: SoCalGas)

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has announced that it took delivery of 23 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (HFCEV), marking the company’s first purchase of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The company plans to expand its fleet of HFCEVs to 50 next month, making SoCalGas among the first utilities in the nation to start transitioning to hydrogen. These HFCEVs are an important step for SoCalGas in decarbonising its fleet and supports the company’s Net Zero 2045 climate goal, which includes replacing 50% of its over-the-road fleet with clean fuel vehicles by 2025 and operating a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2035. View footage of the Toyota Mirai HFCEVs here.

“California companies must work together in the fight against climate change,” says State Senator Susan Rubio. “The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions in California and these types of efforts will help the state meet its climate goals.”

“Each vehicle in our light duty over-the-road fleet is driven an average of 10,000 miles per year. The zero-emissions Toyota Mirai HFCEVs have a driving range of 400 miles and since they run on hydrogen the only by-product is water,” says Sandra Hrna, vice president of supply chain and operations support at SoCalGas. “Transitioning some of our fleet to HFCEVs will help us reduce emissions, moving SoCalGas closer to our net-zero goal and helping California reach carbon neutrality faster.”

“Longo Toyota is honoured to partner with SoCalGas on their strategy to reduce emissions from their vehicle fleet and we are excited to help them with the acquisition of 50 new Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles,” says Doug Eroh, president and general manager at Longo Toyota. “The Toyota Mirai is fueled with hydrogen and makes its own electricity on board while only emitting clean water from its tailpipe. We look forward to working with SoCalGas in the years to come on the acquisition and service of their clean vehicle fleet.”

The light-duty vehicle industry has started to shift towards zero emissions vehicles, currently dominated by battery EVs (BEVs) and complemented by hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. SoCalGas’ recently released economy-wide technical analysis reveals that in the light-duty vehicle sector, BEVs and HFCEVs could address different use cases. For vehicles with longer range requirements or higher utilisation needs, such as taxis, ride-share fleet, or SoCalGas’ own fleet, HFCEVs could be cost competitive in the 2020s.

Earlier this year, in partnership with Hyzon Motors, SoCalGas announced plans to deploy its first hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric utility truck. As part of the partnership, Hyzon will deliver a Class 3 commercial service body utility truck to SoCalGas in 2022. The truck is expected to reach a maximum power of 200 kilowatts, with a range of 300 miles and will be built on the existing chassis OEM used by SoCalGas, minimising the updates needed for operations, servicing, and training.

With the addition of the 50 Toyota Mirai HFCEVs, a third of SoCalGas’ over-the-road fleet currently operates on clean fuels. The company is on track to achieve its goal of 50% by 2025.