Demand for cleaner and greener cars is revving up and now hydrogen cars are about to enter the Australian market, chasing electric vehicles in the race to win consumers.
For the moment, the two main contenders (Hyundai and Toyota) are friends rallying support from industry and government to build awareness and develop infrastructure, namely refuelling stations.
Aside from hydrogen facilities at Hyundai HQ in Sydney and Toyota’s mobile refuelling truck in Melbourne, Canberra will have the first hydrogen refuelling station early next year when 20 Nexo cars are leased to the ACT Government. Brisbane is likely to follow in the second quarter of next year, when five Nexo are leased to the Queensland Government.
“We are hoping the third station will be in Adelaide,” says Hyundai’s senior manager of future mobility and government relations, Scott Nargar.
Hydrogen Park SA at Tonsley will begin making hydrogen by splitting water next year, with the potential for hydrogen vehicle refuelling.
The Australian Gas Infrastructure Group running the project is already scoping out locations for two more stations, one in the CBD and one in the northern suburbs.
Mr Nargar says Hyundai’s electric vehicles are typically sold out months in advance and he believes there’s strong demand for hydrogen too.
“Consumers are a lot greener than our politicians think,” he said.
“We adopt a lot of technology, we’ve got the highest uptake of residential solar in the world and that’s flying across to cars now, people want cleaner, greener cars.”
Hyundai’s Nexo is in Europe, Korea, California and now Australia, where the price is yet to be confirmed.
Hyundai’s Nexo SUV is a standout performer. It runs on hydrogen, emits only water, runs as quietly as any battery powere…
Hydrogen fuel costs range from $10 to $15 a kilogram in Europe and California and the Nexo tank holds 6kg of hydrogen to do 650-700km.
Toyota says the Mirai released in 2014 has a 5kg tank that costs about $60 to fill, with a range of 550km.
Both cars take just three minutes to refuel at a service station.
Hydrogen vehicles are essentially electric cars.
The fuel cell converts chemical energy in hydrogen into electricity and emits nothing but pure water so clean you could drink it.
The president of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety, Dr Stuart Hawksworth, says hydrogen is a different fuel, more like natural gas than petrol or diesel, but with its own set of issues and safety considerations.
“The car is highly engineered, the hydrogen is stored in an incredibly strong, type 4 carbon wrap tank, it’s incredibly strong, thoroughly tested,” he said.
“If there was to be a crash of one of these vehicles I think the thing that would be left would be the tank.
“The cars are really nicely thought out and there’s lots of them operating all over the place, very effectively.”
There are 7000 privately owned hydrogen cars in California and 3000 in Japan, plus bus fleets in locations such as central London.
Zoe Roberts, 18, of Cumberland Park enjoyed a sneak preview of the Hyundai Nexo this week.
“It’s going to be really good for the future, using renewable energy to make hydrogen,” she said.
The Year 12 student from Scotch College said she had never heard about hydrogen vehicles before.
“Not at all, I was like ‘wow’, I didn’t know they existed or anything,” Miss Roberts said. “It’s so cool, it’s been running the entire time and you can’t even hear it. I really like how you can drink water out of the back.”
Both hydrogen cars plus refuelling infrastructure will be on display at a free Hydrogen Safety Public Forum tomorrow from 12pm to 3pm at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan says the forum will enable the public to explore the technology including the cars and a forklift, enjoy a sausage from a hydrogen BBQ, and ask questions of the expert panel.
Extracted from Adelaide Now