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Forget Commodore and Falcon: New Australian car company H2X to take on Toyota RAV4 with locally built Snowy SUV

Meet the Snowy - Australia's new mid-size SUV - source: The Australian Manufacturing Forum

Australian automotive manufacturing is set to make a significant comeback, with new company H2X Australia rising from the ashes left by Holden, Ford and Toyota to build an all-new SUV line in NSW.

The company, formed by former VW and BMW executive Brendan Norman, will base its production facility at Port Kembla near Wollongong, south of Sydney, and focus on hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles, reports the Australian Manufacturing Forum

That will include heavy vehicles, but the consumer halo will be the Snowy, a mid-size SUV equipped with a 60kW fuel cell and overall power outputs of 190kW. That vehicle is expected to be launched as early as 2022, though the company concedes it will need hydrogen infrastructure in place before a launch can happen. 

But H2X Australia, which currently employs 70 people, says its first vehicles could be on the road even sooner than that, with the company also finalising plans for two unspecified heavy vehicles, thought to be trucks focused on interstate routes, with power outputs of up to 550kW, which could be on the road as early as 2021. 

The company means business, too. Joining Norman is Chris Reitz, former  Alfa Romeo Design Director, along with Alan Marder (formerly a Toyota executive), Peter Zienau (formerly of Saab and Chevrolet), Ian Thompson (formerly of Tesla) and Kevin McCann (formerly of Hyundai Australia and Volvo).

H2X says it could produce as many as 3700 vehicles in 2021, and as many as 25,000 a year by 2025.

“We have two distinct platforms in final stages of development and will be releasing details shortly," Mr Norman told the Australian Manufacturing Forum.

“We will be showing running prototypes of the first model in November, beta versions will be available for trailing by customers in April and we want to be producing in volume in July next year.”

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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