April was the month the very first hydrogen refueling station was launched within Australia, and the event was one to be noted. The industry is planning on creating a hydrogen superhighway stretching all the way from Melbourne right into Sydney.
South Korean company, Hyundai car maker have beat their competition at Toyota and Honda (other hydrogen vehicle developers) by launching their family-friendly SUV on Australian roads. The SUV only emits water vapour from the plastic tailpipe located on it.
This Hyundai hydrogen-powered SUV is for sale within Europe, South Korea and the U.S. Even though the company does wish to offer the car to Australians, at this point in time there is only one refueling station within the country.
This move, coupled with the growing popularity of electric vehicles, represents a mounting global shift from fossil fuel driven vehicles to vehicles driven by clean energy sources. Now even China is utilising hydrogen powered transport to battle their smog problem.
Potential for Hydrogen Cars in Australian Market
Technically speaking, Australia has no excuse not to create a hydrogen refueling highway, the points of contention lies at investment options and the fact that fuel stations need to support the cause, according to Cranston Polson, H2H Energy. He claims that the cars are perfected, we just need to invest in refueling infrastructure.
The difference between electric vehicles and Plug-In Hybrids is the fact that hydrogen cars are able to develop their own electricity while they move. They may also be refueled with hydrogen in the same amount of time it takes to fill a petrol run car with petrol. The driving distance between top-ups is also similar to that of regular gas run vehicles.
The cars have an on-board fuel cell which allows the hydrogen to create electricity that charges the on-board battery pack.
Sydney Hydrogen Refueling Station
The country’s first ever hydrogen refueling station can be found just behind Hyundai’s head office within Macquarie Park, Sydney, though the company will allow for other models and makes of hydrogen cars to make use of their pump in order to allow for this technology to gain momentum.
Toyota and Honda have been working on creating hydrogen vehicles too, for the past ten years already. They have allowed for a small amount of experimental vehicles to be tested by customers during 2007, though it’s clear that Hyundai has beat them to it, as they are first automaker to create a hydrogen powered vehicle for international sale, and take it to mass-production levels.