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Harnessing the power of hydrogen – The future of green motoring

Posted on: October 2, 2017 by Tim McClare

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Quiet to drive, quick to refuel and with a longer range than electric options, hydrogen cars are fast becoming a big deal on the green motoring scene. Here’s your quick guide to what they are, who’s making them and why you might want to drive one.

How do they work?

As far as technology goes, it’s actually pretty simple. Hydrogen passes through a fuel cell stack where it mixes with oxygen, producing an electric current which is used to power the car. Highly efficient, these hydrogen fuel cells can be adapted to cars and SUVS, as well as more powerful vehicles like trucks and buses.

Who’s making them?

Toyota, Hyundai and Honda are all investing heavily in hydrogen technology, with some passenger vehicles already available overseas.

Locally, Australian government and industry are actively exploring their options with Moreland City Council in Melbourne planning to build a commercial refuelling station and convert some of its diesel trucks to hydrogen. Also in on the action are South Australia with plans for an $8.2 million hydrogen bus fleet and refuelling station trial, and the ACT which will take delivery of Hyundai’s first 20 Australian fuel cell vehicles in 2018 as part of the Hinsdale Windfarm Stage 3 project.

Why drive one?

A greater range and quick refuelling are just two of the advantages hydrogen vehicles have over their electric counterparts. A seriously silent engine makes them a dream to drive and with water their only emission, their green credentials are out of sight.

However, hydrogen cars aren’t available on the mainstream market in Australia just yet. Hyundai and Toyota own the only 4 demo models in the country and although refuelling stations are on the way, they’re not a reality yet. Industry experts hope government and industry support will assist with the building of infrastructure and the continued development of renewably sourced hydrogen, but until then it’s a waiting game.

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