Hydrogen is here! Hydro cars to help emissions reach net zero by 2050

Grandfather and grandchild filling up electric car

Electric vehicles have taken well to Aussie roads, with EV sales up 120% since 2022. They are touted as the environmentally friendly option compared to their fuel powered equivalents, but Australian science agency CSIRO has recently come out with a new report about the next big eco car - the hydrogen vehicle. 

In the report, CSIRO says that hydrogen-powered transport is needed in addition to electric vehicles if Australia is to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. 

What is a hydrogen vehicle

If you aren’t an electric vehicle enthusiast, you might be wondering what this type of car is and how it works, so let’s break it down. One popular type of hydrogen powered car is the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). The FCEV converts the gas hydrogen that lives inside a tank in the car into electricity that powers the motor. How does it convert? Science. 

What makes FCEVs different to EVs is that they don’t need a battery - they have a ‘fuel cell’ and are able to make their own electricity. Hydrogen powered vehicles are also able to travel longer distances without needing a refuel. 

Why do we need FCEVs

CSIRO’s chief scientist, Professor Bronwyn Fox has suggested that Australia needs to urgently decarbonise its transport sector, which currently accounts for 18.6% of our greenhouse gas emissions. 

Of this 18.6%, heavy vehicles are a huge contributor to these emissions - which could potentially be replaced by FCEVs. This is because hydrogen-powered vehicles are quicker to refuel, have a greater range between refuelling stops and can maximise their payload because they don’t need to carry large, heavy batteries required by electric vehicles.

FCEVs in Australia

The uptake of FCEVs in Australia is pretty low, with not a lot of infrastructure supporting them. Executive advisor at GHD Advisory and lead author of the report, Shawn Wolfe says Australia currently has only five hydrogen refueling stations in operation, with 20 planned or still under construction.

“The pace of the transition to hydrogen-powered transport is moving a lot faster internationally than in Australia,” Wolfe said.

But if you’re interested, which FCEVs are currently available to drive in Australia?

Hyundai Nexo

Hyundai Nexo

The Hyundai Nexo was the first FCEV to be made available in Australia. The Nexo is priced at around $79,000 and produces 120 kW of power. 

How far can it travel before needing a refuel? There is onboard hydrogen gas storage of up to 156.5 litres, which offers over 660km of range.  

Toyata Mirai

Toyota Mirai

The Toyota Mirai is also available for purchase in Australia, which has a cheaper starting price of $49,500. If you are interested in taking it for a spin, it produces 114 kW of power. 

Before needing a refuel, it can travel a claimed range of 650km using 141 litres of onboard hydrogen gas storage.

The FCEV is only a new concept to the Australian market, with the infrastructure still needing to be built to support their rise. However, if you are interested in purchasing an FCEV or even an EV to help in the battle of a greener environment, a car loan could be a handy tool to get you on the road. 

Making sure you are getting the best rates is essential when thinking about taking out a car loan. Check out some of our editors' picks for best car loans, or compare car loans below. 

Compare Car Loans - last updated 18 April 2024

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* WARNING: The Comparison Rate combines the lender's interest rate, fees and charges into a single rate to show the true cost of a personal loan. The comparison rates displayed are calculated based on a loan of $30,000 for a term of 5 years or a loan of $10,000 for a term of 3 years as indicated, based on monthly principal and interest repayments, on a secured basis for secured loans and an unsecured basis for unsecured loans. This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

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