Toyota: hydrogen a “natural stepping stone” from hybrid

Toyota:: hydrogen a “natural stepping stone” from hybrid

Toyota’s local arm strongly supports the adoption of hydrogen fuel-cell technology in Australia, despite the current lack of infrastructure.

Speaking at the showcase of the Mirai fuel-cell sedan and the company’s new mobile hydrogen refueller station, Michael Elias, manager for product planning at Toyota Australia, told CarAdvice the company sees hydrogen power as a natural progression from current hybrid technology – due to the refuelling process being similar to conventional cars.

“It’s a natural stepping stone from hybrid to fuel-cell technology,” he said. “In Australia, we drive long distances. That creates a great opportunity for fuel-cell.”

2016 Toyota Mirai

Above: Toyota Mirai with the company’s new mobile refueller station

But, with no infrastructure currently in place for hydrogen vehicles in Australia, it’s unlikely we will see hydrogen bowsers at your local Shell anytime soon.

However, Elias said there are several organisations – including other manufacturers – working on implementing hydrogen Down Under.

“There’s a working group with many stakeholders. A lot of players,” he said.

“Whilst we say this technology requires infrastructure, other technologies also require infrastructure,” he added, referring to the charging network and home charging systems required for electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.

Hyundai-ix35-Hydrogen-2

Above: Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell

One of those players is likely to be Korean manufacturer Hyundai, who recently secured a deal with the ACT government to import a 20-strong fleet of its next-generation hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to replace its current ix35 Fuel Cell.

Also part of the deal is the Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 3 project, which will provide renewable energy for a new hydrogen refueller capable of powering 1000 fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs).

Would you like to see hydrogen technology rolled out in Australia? Let us know in the comments below

MORE: Hyundai to provide 20 next-gen fuel-cell EVs for ACT government

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