Global hydrogen vehicle company Hyzon Motors has announced a new headquarters in Melbourne where it’ll base its operations and build commercial hydrogen-powered trucks. It’ll be the first hydrogen vehicle assembly plant in Australia.
The move comes as a partnership between Hyzon and RACV, a roadside assistance, car loans, insurance and travel company. Working together, the companies will build offices, a showroom, a workshop and an assembling warehouse in Australia, with Hyzon expecting to generate more than 100 engineering and manufacturing jobs by 2025.
The first lot of ‘lean, green, commercial hydrogen-powered machines’ are set to be developed for Nationwide Group, a subsidiary of RACV, with the first batch of trucks developed for a towing company.
“Nationwide is keen to assess the performance of these vehicles in a real-world test for towing and transport and is thrilled to be part of this new industry-leading partnership,” says Michael Stephenson, the chief executive officer of Nationwide Group.
Nationwide Group will trial three Hyzon HyMax TT7 tilt-tray trucks and one HyMax prime mover, scheduled for the end of 2022.
“We are focused on generating new jobs, new manufacturing and technology facilities and a fundamentally new industry in Australia and New Zealand, that will underpin a sustainable future for the region,” says John Edgley, Hyzon Motors’ managing director for Australia and New Zealand.
“With governments across Australia and New Zealand shifting their focus towards hydrogen as a cost-competitive and zero-emission fuel source, Hyzon stands ready to support and partner on key projects and initiatives.”
So, what is a hydrogen-powered vehicle? Exactly what it says on the tin, actually, it’s a vehicle powered by hydrogen. For those that don’t know, hydrogen is an environmentally friendly fuel source and is powerful enough to run a car (Hyundai and Toyota are both working on hydrogen-powered vehicles). The byproduct of a hydrogen-fuelled car is water vapor, which drips out of the exhaust pipe.
Hydrogen can be created through the electrolysis of water or by heating natural gas with steam. These methods aren’t exactly cheap or quick at the moment, making the creation of hydrogen not exactly an ideal rival to EVs as a sustainable fuel source. It’s also difficult to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology and is more expensive than developing a gas-emitting engine.
It’s an alternative to electric vehicles and petrol-fuelled vehicles that’s still in early days, ideal for fleet sales that can provide hydrogen fuelling readily at point A and B across a journey. For the casual user, it’s difficult to get a hydrogen-powered car refuelled on the road at the moment. Fleet sales are what Hyzon will be focusing on in Australia.
Hydrogen is also expected to be a major Australian export within the coming years, with the government predicting that exports and domestic use of Australian-made hydrogen could be worth up to $50 billion in 30 years.
“Hyzon has already hit the ground running in the region, with scheduled 2022 deliveries including coaches to Fortescue Metals in Western Australia, Prime movers to Coregas in NSW and TR Group in New Zealand, Road train prime movers to Ark Energy in Queensland and the HyMax GSL garbage trucks with Superior Pak across the region,” added Edgely.
“RACV is a strong supporter of the transition to a cleaner energy future,” says Neil Taylor, the chief executive officer of RACV.
“We see building a bigger portfolio of Cleaner Energy assets and businesses as a strong part of RACV’s future, both within Victoria and across Australia.”
The first Hydrogen-powered Hyzon trucks to be assembled in Melbourne will be tested later this year.