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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Behavioral response to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and refueling: Results of California drive clinics


Over the last several decades, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) have emerged as a zero tailpipe-emission alternative to the battery electric vehicle (EV). To address questions about consumer reaction to FCVs, this report presents the results of a “ride-and-drive” clinic series (n=182) held in 2007 with a Mercedes-Benz A-Class “F-Cell” hydrogen FCV. The clinic evaluated participant reactions to driving and riding in an FCV, as well as vehicle refueling. Pre-and post clinic surveys assessed consumer response. More than 80% left with a positive overall impression of hydrogen. The majority expressed a willingness to travel five to ten minutes to find a hydrogen station. More than 90% of participants would consider an FCV driving range of 300 miles (480 kilometers) to be acceptable. Stated willingness-to-pay preferences were explored. The results show that short-term exposure can improve consumer perceptions of hydrogen performance and safety among people who are the more likely early adopters.

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