TMR Team | Sep 9, 2017

South Australia is continuing its push to stay at the pointy end of the automotive industry as the day for local manufacturing come to an end.

Already willing to participate in testing for autonomous cars, SA is now also looking to commit to hydrogen fuel to power tomorrow's fuel-cell vehicles.

State Premier Jay Weatherill said hydrogen is “the ultimate clean energy fuel”, and “by embracing a hydrogen economy, our cars, buses, trucks and power stations could soon be emitting H2O instead of polluting the world with CO2”.

With Holden set to close its Elizabeth plant on October 20 and Mitsubishi having shuttered its Tonsley Park manufacturing plant in 2008, the state hopes to fill that void by playing a role in research, development and tech for the car industry.

SA already generates more sustainable electricity per capita than any other state, and has reached an agreement with Tesla to build the world’s largest lithium battery.

The 44-page hydrogen roadmap says South Australia aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, establishing Adelaide as the world’s first carbon-neutral city.

It discusses the potential of hydrogen production and export in Australia, generating electricity through wind and solar, storing it as hydrogen transported overseas as ammonia.

Hyundai and Toyota have already committed to world-first trials with the CSIRO in Australia, powering fuel cell vehicles with hydrogen sourced from local Ammonia in 2018.

South Australia has already committed to investing $8.2 million in a hydrogen-fuelled bus fleet based in Adelaide. The state’s $150 million Renewable Technology Fund will be used in part for “co-investment in demonstration projects comprising hydrogen production and use”, while a $200 million future jobs fund will “target job creation in the emerging hydrogen sector”.

The road map says South Australia will “encourage automotive industry diversification along the supply chain to include the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell enabled technologies for passenger motor vehicles and heavy commercial fleets”.

Toyota Mirai
Toyota Mirai

The state says there is an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions “by supporting developments of alternative fuel technologies such as hybrid and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles”.

Hyundai and Toyota stand to profit from that push, having already brought a handful of hydrogen-powered vehicles to Australia to raise awareness for the fuel’s potential.

The South Korean brand has committed to selling Australia’s first hydrogen-powered cars to the public in 2018, a yet-to-be-named SUV that has already attracted 20 orders in the ACT.

Hyundai Australia chief operating officer Scott Grant praised South Australia’s roadmap as “a visionary step toward a cleaner, greener future”.

“Humanity is in transition toward zero-emissions transportation,” Grant said.

“Through intelligent incentives and a holistic approach to policy-making, governments can play a proactive role in driving the take-up of next-generation transport technologies.”

MORE: Holden Says Goodbye To Adelaide With One Last ‘Mainy’
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Hydrogen | South Australia | Future