Australia has its first hydrogen-fuelled police vehicle, with the Queensland government adding one of its newly acquired Hyundai Nexos to the state’s police fleet.
Queensland Police will use the Nexo, drawn from the state government’s fleet of five hydrogen vehicles, as part of its North Brisbane Domestic and Family Violence Vulnerable Persons Unit. It is one of the first hydrogen police cars in the Southern Hemisphere.
Queensland police minister Mark Ryan said the Nexo has the ability to be used for all general police duties, and has been fitted with police livery, sirens and lights.
“Importantly, they offer ultra-quick refueling and high efficiency – they will be able to be refueled commercially in just five minutes,” Ryan said.
“Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles also have a better range than regular battery-powered options that are available now on the market.”
“Nexo broke records in May this year by traveling 887 kilometres on a single charge and Hyundai tells us this is the first fuel cell propelled police vehicle in the southern hemisphere.”
The standard mileage guidance for the Nexo is 666 kilometers on a single tank, with refueling able to be completed in three to five minutes.
The problem for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is not so much in the speed of re-fuelling, as finding a place where it can refuel.
The police Nexo will be initially refuelled at the Redlands Research Facility, run by the Queensland University of Technology, which produces hydrogen using an onsite electrolyser and photovoltaic array.
The facility has been established with the support of the Queensland government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and serves as an interim measure before a ‘commercial’ scale refueling station is constructed in Brisbane.
The research facility has the capacity to produce and store enough hydrogen to refuel just one Hyundai Nexo per day.
The Queensland government is supporting the construction of a larger scale renewable hydrogen fuelling station, in partnership with BOC, that will provide make up to 50 kg per day of hydrogen – powered by a 220kW solar array – enough to fully refuel around eight Hyundai Nexos each day.
Queensland minister for renewables and hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the hydrogen vehicles being deployed by the state government would provide an early boost to domestic hydrogen demand, helping to underpin the development of early renewable hydrogen production and supply chains.
“By running this vehicle in real-world conditions, we are making sure Queenslanders and Queensland businesses are at the front of the queue for the thousands of jobs our hydrogen industry will create,” de Brenni said.
“Queensland police will test this emerging electric vehicle technology, initially refueling at the Redlands Research Facility, and following that at Queensland’s first commercial hydrogen refueller.”
Hyundai Australia CEO Jun Heo said the deployment would serve as a demonstration of the capabilities of the Nexo vehicle for both the police force, as well as the wider public.
It follows the ACT government acquiring 20 of its own hydrogen Hyundai Nexo vehicles. Hyundai also operates three of its own Nexos at its head office in Sydney, taking the total deployed in Australia to 28.
Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.