The second quarter of 2023 brought us an interesting surprise in the hydrogen fuel cell car segment (aka FCV or FCEV) in the United States (actually in California, where the series-produced models are available).

That's because the sales volume not only improved year-over-year but even reached the highest quarterly volume ever.

According to the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership's data, during the second quarter of 2023, 1,076 new hydrogen fuel cell cars were sold in the US, which is 34 percent more than a year ago.

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership's FCVs sales data comes from Baum and Associates. "Sales data is based on car sales sold by a dealer to a retail or fleet customer".

It's the third time in history that sales exceeded 1,000 units in a quarter and the highest result ever (the previous best was: 1,034 in Q1 2021 and 1,033 in Q1 2022). That's not a groundbreaking change, but an interesting outcome.

Not only that. The record result was achieved with basically only one model - the Toyota Mirai, which - according to Toyota (a different data source) - noted 1,054 sales in Q2 (a new record and the first four-digit result). For reference, Hyundai reports only 40 Nexo sales.

It's hard to say whether we will see a continuation of the growth in Q3. As far as we know, there are only two hydrogen fuel cell models available in California - the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo (the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell exited a while ago), which alone significantly limits the sales potential.

Let's also note that during the second quarter, new all-electric car registrations in California alone amounted to 103,516, which is close to 100 times more (96 to be precise).

FCV sales in Q2 2023:

  • Total: 1,076 (up 34%)

Sales in Q2 reported by the manufacturers:

  • Toyota Mirai - 1,054 (up 64%)
  • Hyundai Nexo - 40 (down 62%)

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle sales in the US - Q2 2023

During the first half of the year, more than 1,800 new FCVs were sold, which is two percent less than a year ago - essentially, because of the weak first quarter.

FCV sales in Q1-Q2 2023:

  • Total: 1,801 (down 2%)

Sales in Q1-Q2 reported by the manufacturers:

  • Toyota Mirai - 1,722 (up 27%)
  • Hyundai Nexo - 105 (down 61%)

For reference, in 2022 FCEV sales exceeded 2,707 (down 19 percent year-over-year).

The overall cumulative sales of FCVs exceeded 16,700 as of the end of the quarter (not counting vehicles removed from use), which is 18 percent more than a year ago. This number includes over 13,000 Toyota Mirai.

Refueling infrastructure

As of May 22, 2023, the number of open retail hydrogen stations in California stood at 58 (five more than in December):

  • Open - Retail: 58
  • Open - Legacy Retail: 0
  • Currently Unavailable: 6
  • In Construction: 7
  • In Permitting: 23
  • Proposed: 7
  • On hold: 5
  • Total (Light Duty): 106

See the full list of hydrogen infrastructure here.

A quick calculation reveals that there are over 289 cars per single station (cumulative sales divided by the number of open retail stations). Although, it's less due to the early cars that have been removed from service.

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