Mary's Valley Rally: FCEVs drive from SoCal to NorCal

“Imagine: a fun day on the road with good talk and good food AND zero emissions. I could get used to this,” said ARB Chairman, Mary Nichols after a drive from Santa Monica to Sacramento in her Toyota Mirai. Mary, along with Janea Scott from the Energy Commission and Tyson Eckerle from the Governor’s Office of Business Development led a caravan of FCEVs on “Mary’s Valley Rally” on April 20.

Mary's Valley Rally - April 20, 2016

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Mary, Janea, and Tyson joined Clark Parker (South Coast AQMD board member) and Santa Monica mayor Tony Vazquez in a brief kick-off event to cut the ribbon at the Cloverfield Blvd. station in Santa Monica. “We have 15 hydrogen stations open for business and fueling these vehicles today. The fact that we are making a drive from Los Angeles to Sacramento in our (FCEVs) demonstrates the significant progress we’ve made in building out the infrastructure,” Janea said before cutting the ribbon at the station. Clark talked about SCAQMD leadership in clean air and its dedication to hydrogen. “We have scores of international visitors who visit our region to learn what we’re doing for clean air.”

As the group mounted up for the first leg of the 380-mile drive, Mary stated, “This rally puts the network to the test and gives us a fun opportunity to highlight that hydrogen-powered cars are essential to meeting our climate goals and a crucial tool in the state’s effort to clean up our air — especially in the Central Valley.”

At Harris Ranch, the group stopped for its second ribbon-cutting of the day. Joined by Jim Harris, the founder of Harris Ranch, and FirstElement Fuels founders. As the five FCEVs filled for the next leg of the trip, Tyson said, “A year ago, the ability to refuel a ZEV in three minutes on a trip across California was only a plan. Now, after three minutes at the pump and a pit stop, we’re able to go another 300 miles. The possibilities are endless.”

The vehicles rolled in to Sacramento at 5:15pm and joined state elected leaders and local press for a ride and drive around the capitol, and later fueled at the West Sacramento hydrogen station that opened last year.

The California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program is providing cost-sharing for an initial network of at least 100 stations through 2023 by investing up to $20 million each year for stations located where customers driving fuel cell electric vehicles live, work and travel. About $100 million has been invested to date to support the construction, operation and maintenance of 49 hydrogen refueling stations, including a mobile refueler. Visit to follow the progress of California’s fueling network.

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