Hyundai has announced that an order for 20 of its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles has been placed by the ACT Government as a part of the 'Renewable Transport Fuels Test Berth' in Canberra.
The trial fleet has been made possible thanks to the Hornsdale Windfarm Stage 3 which will be used to supply renewably-sourced electricity for a Siemens Sylizer System hydrogen refueler.
The project also hinges on cooperation from Neoen, and Megawatt Capital, in a move that will allow enough hydrogen generation to power a 1000 vehicle fleet covering an average of 14,000km per year without relying on fossil fuels.
The vehicles themselves will be Hyundai’s next generation hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, developed from information learnt the current generation ix35 Fuel Cell (pictured) that is in use around the world.
Hyundai holds the honour of bringing the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle into Australia in 2015 supported by a permanent refuelling station at its Sydney headquarters.
Toyota has also presented a single example of its Mirai fuel cell vehicle locally on a brief tour in October last year before sending the vehicle back to Japan. This year a fleet of three Mirais will be joined by a portable refuelling rig.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles operate much like an electric vehicle, except hydrogen gas is converted to electricity on board, rather than charging a battery, allowing for faster refuelling times.
The ix35 Fuel Cell currently in Australia provides acceleration, range, safety and practicality comparable to a normal SUV, with the advantage of zero tailpipe emissions.
Some of the doubts over the development of a hydrogen fuelled future include the lack of refuelling infrastructure, and finding environmentally responsible ways to generate hydrogen gas - both issues that the ACT Government project will set out to address.
While little is known about Hyundai’s next-generation fuel cell vehicle at this stage, the Australian delivered cars are on track to be delivered by 2018, and will again feature an SUV-style body providing similar space and utility to a comparable petrol or diesel powered vehicle.