Hyundai has become the first car-maker to register and deploy a fleet of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in Australia, with 20 examples of the Hyundai NEXO now being employed on the road by the ACT government in the nation’s capital.

The hydrogen-powered SUV beats the second-generation Toyota Mirai FCEV, which will also enter government and business fleet trials this year, following local testing of the original Mirai.

Although neither model will be available to the public for a while yet, at least until a hydrogen-refuelling network exists, the advanced zero-emissions Hyundai NEXO SUV is the first FCEV to be fully certified and ADR-approved Down Under.

Emitting only water vapour, the whisper-quiet Hyundai NEXO offers a driving range of around 666km, while refuelling is said to take around only three to five minutes – not much more than a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle.

The futuristic SUV also features semi-autonomous driving aids and comes with ANCAP’s maximum five-star safety rating.

Said to bolster the Australian government’s long-term commitment to developing a local hydrogen economy, the nation’s first publicly-available hydrogen station is due to open in Canberra (ACT) this month to fuel the new fleet.

It’s a positive step towards mitigating climate change, according to ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury.

“Tackling climate change means tackling transport pollution, and zero-emission vehicle technology is a key part of this,” he said.

The lack of hydrogen-fuelling infrastructure has prevented widespread uptake of hydrogen-powered vehicles in Australia, but several other refuelers are also in the pipeline.

Hyundai says another five NEXOs are currently on a ship to Australia and will shortly service the Queensland government.
“We want to demonstrate to the Queensland community that these vehicles can be on the road like any other vehicle,” said Queensland treasurer, Cameron Dick.

“They’ll be seamlessly introduced into the QFleet range of vehicles to show the public that hydrogen can be used safely.”

Currently, only one Hyundai dealership in Australia is capable of servicing hydrogen-powered vehicles – Lennock Hyundai in Phillip, ACT – which will provide service and support for the government NEXO fleet.

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