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Hyundai will be the supplier of the first order for hydrogen-powered cars in Australian history, after the ACT government announced it will buy 20 of the company’s next-generation fuel-cell vehicles as part of its Renewable Transport Fuels Test Berth in Canberra.

The $23 million renewable fuels test not only includes the 20 hydrogen-powered vehicles but also the Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 3 project, which will provide renewable energy for a hydrogen refueller capable of powering 1000 fuel-cell electric vehicles (EVs).

Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 3 will feature a Siemens Stylizer System hydrogen refueller, providing fuel-grade hydrogen gas for over 1000 fuel-cell EVs travelling an average of 14,000km a year, without the use of any fossil fuels.

20 of Hyundai’s next-generation fuel-cell vehicles will be delivered, due for launch in 2018. These cars will replace the current ix35 Fuel Cell SUV – which is the first fully-imported hydrogen-powered vehicle in Australia and the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

ix35 Fuel Cell - 004

The sole ix35 Fuel Cell resides at Hyundai Australia’s headquarters in Macquarie Park, Sydney, which is also the site of the first and only operational hydrogen refueller in the country.

Charlie Kim, CEO of Hyundai Motor Company Australia, said the company hopes the project will kick-start the adoption of fuel-cell vehicles Down Under.

“We hope this brilliant project inspires others to see the potential of hydrogen as a future fuel for our cars,” he said.

“This first small step toward a zero-emissions transport solution for Australia is very significant and we are proud to be involved.”

ix35 Fuel Cell - 001

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are yet to take off in Australia, though parts of Europe and North America have begun to implement the necessary infrastructure to support the technology.

The current Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is driven by an electric motor that produces 100kW and 300Nm.

To power the motor, the fuel cell generates electricity from the reaction of hydrogen and air with electrodes from its fuel cell stack. Only water vapour emits from the vehicle’s tailpipe.

The 0-100km/h run takes around 12.5 seconds, Hyundai claims, on its way to a top speed of 160km/h.

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell power flow monitor

It’s unknown whether the next-generation Hyundai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will be a completely new model or based on an existing model, like the ix35 Fuel Cell was.

Due for launch in 2018, it’s likely the new fuel-cell EV will be revealed sometime in the second half of next year.

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