The founders of the True Zero Hydrogen Network completed a scenic drive throughoutCalifornia 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.a, b
The goal of the drive was to demonstrate how a zero-emission fuel cell 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 inCalifornia, 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 Josefor 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.
a The existing Guinness World Record for electric car miles driven in 24-hours is 2142.317 kilometers or 1,331 miles.
b Other groups also claim to have “unofficially” broken the record for electric miles driven in 24-hours
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.