The Queensland state government will trial five hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) powered by “home-grown” hydrogen to help underpin development of a local hydrogen industry, it announced today.

The five Hyundai Nexo FCEVs will be trialled for three years as part of the government Qfleet, which has had an electric vehicle transition plan in place since 2018.

The first inklings that this might include FCEVs came in August 2019 in tandem with an announcement by the state that it would pursue “green hydrigen under an initial $19 million plan.

“This trial will accelerate our journey towards establishing Queensland as a renewable energy superpower,” Queensland minister for energy, renewable and hydrogen and publis works Mick de Brenni said in a statement on Thursday.

“By demonstrating that lower emission technology is cost-effective, the Palaszczuk Government will lead the way in cleaner transport solutions while delivering value for money to taxpayers.

“Transport systems around the world are undergoing a major phase of transformation with the rise of electric vehicles. We are taking an active role in preparing for these transformations as we move towards cleaner transport solutions.”

The Hyundai Nexos will be refuelled using renewable hydrogen manufactured in Queensland by BOC Australia. The previously announced $19 million plan includes installation of a BOC refuelling station at the Queensland University of Technology.

The new vehicles will join the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) already in the Government fleet.

“We’ve got a QFleet Electric Vehicle Strategy in place to boost the number of EVs in the Government fleet,” de Brenni said. A document outlining the strategy on the government’s website states this involves it will “at least double” the number of electric vehicles in the fleet every year.

De Brenni says that Qlfeet is on track to meet this target, and a spokesperson from the department told The Driven that there are currently 68 electric vehicles in the fleet with another 10 on order, to reach a total target of 288 EVs by 2022.

The first electric vehicle to join the Qfleet was a Hyundai Ioniq in December 2018.

“Our commitment is to double the number of EVs in QFleet each year, a target we are on track to meet,” said de Brenni.

“I will continue to ensure the shift to electric models as vehicles fall due for replacement over the coming months and years in order to lead the development of the EV and hydrogen sectors.

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