More Hydrogen Cars Coming to Australia

A supply deal with Hyundai should increase the availability of much-needed refueling infrastructure.

August 11, 2020

SYDNEY—Hydrogen-powered vehicles soon could be common on the streets of Australia’s biggest city after Hyundai of Seoul reached a supply deal for the zero-emissions fuel with local producers, Bloomberg reports. Hyundai Australia has signed a memorandum of understanding with Jemena Ltd. and Coregas to produce and supply hydrogen generated from solar and wind power to the South Korean company’s Sydney hub starting in early 2021.

“A lack of critical refueling infrastructure is regularly cited as a hand-brake to hydrogen vehicle sales,” said Frank Tudor, managing director, Jemena. The agreement “is an opportunity to demonstrate that renewably-generated hydrogen gas can be made directly available to the vehicle and transport sectors.”

Fuel-cell electric vehicles combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and run the motor. A fully charged FCEV can travel around 404 miles, which is a bigger range than pure the electric vehicles that generally travel only 93 miles.

In 2018, the global hydrogen vehicle industry was valued at around $650 million, and it is expected to grow rapidly in coming years, according to Jemena, jointly owned by State Grid of China and Singapore Power. Presently, Hyundai’s Macquarie Park showroom in Sydney is the only hydrogen refueling site in Australia. Another is under construction in Canberra, with more planned for Melbourne and Brisbane. The Australian government plans to build a hydrogen export industry over the next decade by harnessing the country’s renewable power to manufacture the fuel.

As NACS Daily reported in March, a revolution currently is underway in hydrogen production that will result in rapid growth in hydrogen-powered vehicles and the infrastructure needed to fuel them. The major issue for hydrogen acceptance as fuel is the lack of fueling facilities. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that for every 1 million hydrogen cars, the U.S. will need 200 stations. If the country has 10 million hydrogen vehicles—the goal of equipment manufacturers and zero-emission vehicle state mandates—the U.S. will require 2,000 retail fueling stations at a cost of about $1.5 billion, not including the real estate.

For more on the hydrogen market in the U.S., see “Fuel’s Errand?” in the October 2019 issue of NACS Magazine.