Hyundai Australia has announced its first 20 Nexo SUVs have arrived in Australia, ready for deployment in the ACT where they will provide a zero tailpipe emissions fleet across several departments.
Powered by hydrogen, is the first fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) certified for sale in Australia, and offers the advantage of a long 666km driving range and the ability to refuel in just minutes much like fossil fuels.
While the production of truly “green” zero emissions hydrogen in a manner that does not require a high share of clean energy, is still being addressed (recent studies at the ANU and USQ show some promise but are far from commercialisation), a hydrogen refuelling station pilot was announced for the ACT in 2019 in readiness for the 20 Nexos.
The Hyundai Nexo has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and will help the ACT government fulfil its goal to reach 100% zero emissions from transport by 2021, part of a broader plan to reduce its carbon emissions to zero – a part of which it reached ahead of schedule in 2019 when it achieved 100% energy from renewable resources.
This station will be opened in the third quarter of 2020, says Hyundai, and as Australia’s first publicly available hydrogen refuelling station is being installed by French renewable energy company Neoen as part of its deal to provide the ACT with power from its three wind farms at Hornsdale in South Australia.
“For a long time, hydrogen has been touted as the fuel of the future. However, with the arrival of a fleet of Nexo FCEVs for the Australian Capital Territory Government, we’re pleased to say that it’s now the fuel of today,” Hyundai Australia CEO Jun Heo said in a statement.
“Nexo is the embodiment of our long-term commitment to introducing hydrogen-powered transport in Australia and around the world,” said Heo.
The Hyundai Nexo joins a range of electric and hybrid vehicles also introduced to Australia by the South Korean car maker over the past 18 months, including the Ioniq fastback (which is available in electric, plug-in hybrid and non-pluggable hybrid), and the Kona Electric.
“As part of a line-up that includes hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric models, Nexo underscores our leadership in eco-mobility and our commitment to a sustainable, low-emissions motoring future in this country,” says Heo.
While hydrogen fuel cell technology is touted as a better alternative for long-haul and heavy duty vehicles, it is also commercially available overseas in the Toyota Mirai, a handful of which have been trialled through Melbourne’s Hobson Bay City Council.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency also backed the creation of a hydrogen-refuelling station to be built at the old Toyota Altona car plant, while Hyundai has its own on-site hydrogen fuel station at HMCA headquarters in Sydney to fuel the FCEV ix35.
In more recent news, FCEV startup H2X announced its plan to manufacture an hydrogen-powered SUV named “Snowy” in Port Kembla – but first, it plans to precede this with a range of built-to-order commercial vehicles underpinned by a back-to-base refuelling station to suit customer requirements.
US hydrogen startup Nikola also made news in recent weeks when it announced its “Badger” FCEV ute, sending share prices sky high and valuing Nikola’s market cap above that of US car giant Ford.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.