A second fleet of Hyundai Nexo hydrogen cars is on its way to Brisbane where the next trial of the future technology is due to commence by the end of this year.
Australia is on the brink of opening its third public refuelling station for hydrogen cars – in Brisbane, following recent openings in Melbourne and Canberra – and a second fleet of Hyundai Nexo vehicles has arrived in Sydney ahead of the next real-world trial of the future tech.
Hyundai’s hydrogen-car fleet trial formally commenced on Friday 26 March 2021 in Canberra, the nation’s capital, while Toyota’s hydrogen-car fleet trial officially started on Monday 29 March 2021 in Melbourne.
Both brands had tested previous generation hydrogen cars in Australia over the past five years – in limited numbers, as part of internal trials – but this is the first time such vehicles have been made available to specially-selected fleets locally.
The hydrogen vehicles being used in the Australian fleet trials are showroom-ready, however the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo won’t be sold to the general public via dealerships until there are sufficient refuelling points.
For now there are only two hydrogen refuellers open to specialist fleets – in Melbourne and Canberra. Hyundai also has a hydrogen refuelling point behind its Sydney headquarters, however it is not open to the public.
In Europe, Japan and the US, it is already possible to drive the equivalent distance of Sydney to Melbourne in a hydrogen car because there is a network of refuelling points alongside conventional fuel bowsers at strategically-located petrol stations.
While a hydrogen-powered car has the range to travel from Canberra to Sydney on one tank, there isn’t yet enough refuelling points to drive on hydrogen from Canberra to Melbourne or Sydney to Brisbane, though the Hyundai Nexo (shown below) could come close with its claimed 666km maximum driving range.
The Queensland Government announced its trial of hydrogen cars in August 2019 and, in partnership with gas supplier BOC and the federal government’s future fuels agency, helped fund a $3.1 million “pilot project” to install a 220kW electrolyser and 100kW solar array at BOC’s Bulwer Island facility, north east of the Brisbane CBD near the mouth of the Brisbane River.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $950,000 in funding to the project, which will utilise some of the gas infrastructure already on site as well as establishing a local refuelling station for hydrogen cars.
BOC forecast it will be able to provide up to 50kg of renewable hydrogen per day for the new Brisbane refuelling station.
By comparison, the Toyota site in Melbourne can produce up to 80kg of renewable hydrogen per day.
The Canberra refuelling station at the centre of the Hyundai trial can produce 22kg of hydrogen per day and store 50kg. It also has scope to triple the current output and double the current storage.
While exact timing of the opening of the Brisbane hydrogen refuelling station is yet to be announced, CarAdvice understands it is due to be operational within two to three months – and the next five Hyundai Nexo cars have already arrived, ready for their fleet trial.
Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team), and then News Corp Australia. He has been with CarAdvice since late 2018 and is a World Car of the Year judge.
Joshua covers motoring news, car reviews and comparison tests – and has a keen interest in all aspects of the automotive industry, including price movements, sales data and consumer protection. He assesses in excess of 150 cars per year to stay current with new models.
When working for News Corp Australia he covered the factory shutdowns of the Ford, Toyota and Holden factories in 2016 and 2017 – and the debate leading up to those decisions, including interviewing global executives in Detroit. Dowling also broke the news in early 2020 that Holden would exit Australia for good, ahead of other mainstream media and motoring media outlets.
Dowling has a passion for affordable cars and commercial vehicles and, in particular, double cab utes. He believes electric cars will eventually become a part of our motoring lives – once cost and range anxiety issues are resolved.