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Hyundai to build FCEV network in Australia

The upcoming Hyundai Nexo SUV will benefit from the fuel-cell charging network.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA), in cooperation with a number of global energy companies, is planning to develop a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle (FCEV) charging network.

The news follows the opening of the Chargefox ultra-rapid battery-electric charging network in Euroa, Victoria last week, as the company cut the ribbon at its first station with representatives from partner brands Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi and Hyundai.

At the Chargefox opening, HMCA manager of future mobility and government relations Scott Nargar said the Korean carmaker “definitely” had plans to built an FCEV charging network Down Under.

“Definitely, we know of a couple of stations that will be online next year and we know that the ACT station will more than likely be the first, and Hyundai has already got 20 of the next-generation Nexo fuel-cell vehicles as part of that process,” he said.

“We have taken expressions of interest and people that want to order fuel-cell vehicles right now, and we’ve also got some fleet companies talking to us about their clients that are actually asking for fuel-cell vehicles, as they know of the projects that are going into several states.”

While Mr Nargar would not provide specifics, he did confirm that a number of infrastructure projects were in the early planning stages for different states across Australia.

“We know there are projects going to happen in Queensland, we’re looking at stuff happening in New South Wales, the ACT especially, South Australia there’s some projects happening and also Western Australia.” 

Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) made a significant breakthrough in fuel-cell technology by developing a way to transport hydrogen through liquid ammonia instead of gaseous hydrogen.

The new method alleviates the need for high-pressure tank storage and expensive infrastructure, reportedly making hydrogen fuel-cell technology a more viable proposition for Australian roads.

According to Mr Nargar, members of Hydrogen Mobility Australia (HMA) along with major gas and energy companies, see the development as not only a way of increasing the rate of FCEV introduction in Australia, but as a potential export opportunity.

“You look at the breadth of the hydrogen mobility membership when you’ve got state government representatives from those states, you’ve got the CSIRO and then the paying members are all the oil companies – BP, Caltex, Beep Energy, Shell, BOC, Linde, Air Liquide, Siemens… Austin Energy, AGIG gas networks – these are the big energy/gas retailers in Australia, or energy distributors or wholesalers, that are part of hydrogen mobility,” he said.

“They want to use the technology, use renewable energy to make hydrogen, it will help balance the grids, we can inject it into the gas pipeline, we can export ammonium hydrogen overseas.

“Our northern neighbours want a whole lot of that and Hyundai has been part of those discussions with the Australian government and Austrade and the Korean and Japanese governments.

“There’s a global want for our green energy and we have to make sure we use our green energy for our transport networks at home as well as what we’re going to ship overseas."

Will hydrogen fuel-cell technology take off in Australia? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

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