Australia’s first hydrogen refuelling station for cars will be opened in Sydney today — and the industry is expected to push for a “hydrogen superhighway” from Melbourne to Sydney.

South Korean car maker Hyundai has beaten hydrogen-car pioneers Toyota and Honda to Australian roads with a family SUV that emits only water vapour from its plastic tailpipe.

The hydrogen-powered Hyundai is on sale in North America, Europe and South Korea and the company wants to sell the same car locally, but as yet there is only one refuelling point for cars.

“There is no technical reason Australia couldn’t have a hydrogen highway, it just comes down to investment or petrol stations to get behind it,” said hydrogen car expert Cranston Polson from H2H Energy. “The cars are ready, we just need the refuelling infrastructure.”

‘Hydrogen superhighway’ ... the hydrogen fuel cell on the Hyundai ix35. Picture: Supplied

‘Hydrogen superhighway’ … the hydrogen fuel cell on the Hyundai ix35. Picture: Supplied

Unlike electric cars or petrol-electric hybrids, hydrogen vehicles create their own electricity while on the move.

The other advantage: they can be refilled with hydrogen in the same amount of time as it takes to refuel a petrol car, and the driving distance between top-ups is about the same as regular vehicles.

The hydrogen is used by the on-board “fuel cell” to create electricity which, in turn, either charges the on-board battery pack or powers the car’s electric motor, or both.

Australia’s first hydrogen pump for cars is located behind Hyundai’s head office in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park, but the company will allow rival brands’ hydrogen cars to use the pump in its bid to get the technology moving.

Japanese giants Toyota and Honda have been developing hydrogen cars for the past decade and began putting a small number of experimental vehicles in customer hands in 2007.

However, Hyundai is the first manufacturer globally to make a hydrogen powered car in mass production; it goes down the same assembly line as petrol and diesel versions of the same car.

Extracted in full from The Australian.