A senior Hyundai executive has called on the Australian government to “stop looking under the ground and start looking toward the sky and embrace renewable energy”.
The Korean carmaker’s senior vice president and head of fuel cell centre division Dr Sae Hoon Kim said Australia is in an enviable position to become a global leader in renewable energy and a producer and exporter of green hydrogen.
Speaking by video at the launch of the 2021 Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in Canberra this week, Dr Kim said: “Your great country is one of the world’s leading exporters of coal and gas, we all know this.
"[But] Australia has one of the best opportunities in the world to produce renewable energy thanks to your abundance of solar energy. There is also a vast amount of space, so you can make the most of the incredible resource you have.
“Australia could power the world, you may think this is an exaggeration, but I believe the potential is definitely there.”
Dr Kim also praised the Australian Capital Territory’s efforts to transform its government fleet to zero emissions vehicles led by its energy and its emissions minister Shane Rattenbury.
Rattenbury, who also spoke at the Nexo launch, called on the Commonwealth government to match his government’s move to a zero emissions vehicle fleet.
Speaking on the eve of the opening of a hydrogen refuelling station in Canberra and the delivery of 20 Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles for the ACT Government vehicle fleet, Rattenbury said he’d love to see the Federal Government adopt a policy similar to President Joe Biden’s pledge to revamp the 645,000-strong US Government fleet with electric vehicles.
The smallest state or territory government in Australia, the ACT government has the largest fleet of zero-emission vehicles in the country which Rattenbury said has allowed it to demonstrate their viability.
“We are demonstrating very practically the new vehicles coming into the market and the possibility that a zero-emission vehicle future is possible and practical in Australia,” he said.
“The federal government may not think so, it certainly hasn’t ruined the weekend in the ACT," he said in reference Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s anti-EV sentiments during the 2019 Federal Election campaign.
“If the Commonwealth took on this sort of policy that we’ve put in place we can create a market to give the suppliers confidence to bring the vehicles into the country in a way that then make them more available for the average Australian. It would bring the price down, it would create supply, the mechanics will start to train on these vehicles...