Toyota is teaming up with fuel giant Shell to build seven new hydrogen fueling stations on the streets of California.
The two companies will contribute $11.4 million on the project while the California Energy Commission may provide an additional $16.4 million in grants as part of a bid to have 100 retail stations in the state by 2024.
On the surface, it seems rather bizarre for a massive oil company like Shell to have any interest in alternatively-fueled vehicles. However, the company is aware that oil won’t last forever and is looking towards a future where its reliance on this finite resource will have to be reduced. Rather than heading down the electric vehicle route, it is backing hydrogen and currently operates six hydrogen stations, four in Germany and two in LA.
Shell is also one of 13 companies to have formed a global hydrogen council last month where $10.7 billion will be invested into hydrogen products in the next five years.
According to Katsuhiko Hirose, a Toyota project general manager, Shell’s decision to back hydrogen is also a way for the company to fire back at Elon Musk, an outspoken critic of the oil industry.
Speaking to Automotive News, Hirose said “The enemy of the enemy is a friend. [Musk] threatens the oil companies, and the oil companies respond the other way”, supporting hydrogen.