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First hydrogen car Hyundai Nexo certified for Australia

The first hydrogen-powered car, the Hyundai Nexo, is officially ready for Australian roads.

The Nexo has been formally certified by the Australian government, cleared for use on local roads, and also scored top marks in the latest crash safety tests.

It will be on sale from next year though initially it will only be available on lease to governments or fleets that have access to a hydrogen refilling station.

The Australian Capital Territory is set to take delivery of the first 20 Hyundai Nexo “fuel cell” cars early next year when installation of its hydrogen refuelling station is complete.


The Queensland government will add five Hyundai Nexo cars to their hydrogen station in Brisbane once it is operational.

The Victorian Government, in collaboration with Toyota, will open a hydrogen refueler in Melbourne by years end.

Hyundai says that hydrogen stations in West Australia, South Australia and Tasmania will follow, but have not yet been announced.

As for New South Wales, the nation’s biggest population centre, there are no hydrogen refuellers locked in, though there are preliminary discussions about an installation in Western Sydney.

At present, there is only one hydrogen refuelling plant in Australia which is behind Hyundais’ Sydney head office, and can only be used internally.


“The future is now,” said Scott Nargar, Hyundai’s senior manager for future mobility and government relations. “We really need infrastructure on the forecourts of service stations, we need infrastructure in shopping centres, we need infrastructure in the home.”

The Hyundai executive said, “the transition is starting to happen, it’s just a matter of catching up with what’s happening in Europe and North America”.

“Our vehicles are on the roads here now,” said Mr Nargar. “Our fuel cell vehicle is certified and we’re ready to start selling it, leasing it, we’re just waiting for the infrastructure to catch up.”

He said it was time for governments to “consider the technology that’s coming in from ourselves and some of our competitors. We need to work together”.


An advantage of hydrogen-powered cars is that they can be refuelled in approximately five minutes, which is a similar amount of time to a petrol car.

The hydrogen powers a fuel cell which creates electricity, that then charges an onboard battery pack which runs the electric motor.

The advantage of this is that it doesn’t take as long as an electric car to refuel when on empty. The downside to this is that hydrogen refuelling stations are rare, and the fuel is more volatile to transport.

To counter this, Hyundai says that it has four option covered: petrol-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric, and hydrogen power.

“No matter what the automotive landscape may look like in the future we are confident we will have a solution that will suit our customers’ needs,” said Mr Nargar.

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