However, currently there are only two hydrogen refueling stations in Australia. Despite this, Hyundai public relations general manager Bill Thomas told Wheels the Nexo, revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Los Angeles last week, would join showrooms here.
“I think 2019 we’ll have some cars for sale,” Thomas said. “How we sell them and how we distribute them, we haven’t worked that out yet.
“We should have 20 [fuel call cars] on the road by mid-2019 so that’s a start. I should imagine the volumes will be around 50 to 100 a year.”
The Nexo will have a range of almost 1000km once its three hydrogen tanks are filled. As well, the new version of the fuel cell car will feature improved performance via a more efficient fuel cell stack, more cabin space and a refill time that takes no longer than a petrol or diesel car.
Hyundai Australia future mobility and government relations manager Scott Nargar told Wheels that as well as emitting only water, the Nexo also scrubbed the particulates produced by other vehicles from the air.
“The [fuel cell] car’s a giant air purifier,” he said. “It needs pure oxygen to run the stack so it goes through two very complex filter systems and it takes out 99.9 percent of particulates from the air. Imagine a bus with a stack three times the size of that (the Nexo’s) and cities that run hundreds of buses.
“For every one of these on the road, not only is it zero emissions, it’s actually helping capture the emissions from other vehicles around it.”
While other sources of hydrogen are potentially harmful to the environment, Nargar said Australia had the potential to be a world leader in the clean production of the fuel.
He said Australia’s CSIRO was working with Hyundai’s spin-off company, Hydrogen Mobility Australia, on a solution that did not rely on fossil fuels to crack hydrogen.
“We’ve got guys working with CSIRO who built the world’s first [hydrogen] cracker where you have liquid ammonia going in and, through the CSIRO cracker, which is world-first technology, out comes pure hydrogen for cars.”
Nargar said other nations were already eyeing the process, which could offer “massive export opportunity”.
“The Korean government is very interested because they’re going to run 26,000 fuel cell buses,” Nagar said. “They need to buy their energy from somewhere in the world, [so] let’s make that green energy. Australia should be able to supply that energy in the form of green ammonia.”
“We’re going to keep relying on oil imported from overseas and cars that make pollution or do we bring in cars that can run on the energy we can make in Australia ourselves?”
Nagar said as more car makers dedicated resources to hydrogen as a transport fuel, demand was gathering momentum.
“It’s all starting to happen in Australia. We know we are going to see (filling) stations in the coming years,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be followers, we should be leaders.”