​Hydrogen cars a step closer in Sydney after Hyundai supply deal

Hydrogen-powered vehicles could soon be more common on the streets of Australia’s biggest city after Hyundai Motor Co. reached a supply deal for the zero-emissions fuel with local producers.

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 from early 2021.

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

Fuel cell electric vehicles combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs the motor. A fully-charged FCEV can travel around 650 kilometres, giving them a bigger range than pure electric vehicles, which generally only stretch to 150 kilometers.

The global hydrogen vehicle industry was estimated to be worth around $650 million in 2018 and is expected to grow rapidly in the years ahead, according to Jemena, jointly owned by State Grid of China and Singapore Power. Hyundai’s Macquarie Park showroom in Sydney is currently the only hydrogen refueling site in Australia. Another is under construction in Canberra, with more planned for Melbourne and Brisbane.

The Australian government is also seeking to build a hydrogen export industry over the next decade by harnessing the country’s natural advantages of using renewable power to manufacture the fuel.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.