Why NZ needs to embrace both hydrogen and electric vehicles

Why NZ needs to embrace both hydrogen and electric vehicles

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With transportation making up a significant chunk of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, car manufacturers are investing in cleaner, more efficient alternatives to vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

While most people know about electric vehicles (EVs) and their role in reducing those emissions, the potential of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to do the same is less well-known.

But locally owned Hyundai NZ has been exploring both of these technologies as part of its Future Positive focus and its commitment to a better future for all New Zealanders.

What’s the difference between EVs and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles?

While EVs run on electricity from batteries that can be recharged from the grid, hydrogen-powered vehicles run on hydrogen gas that’s converted into electricity via fuel cells.

A fuel cell generates electricity through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen in the tank mixes with oxygen from ambient air, causing the reaction and generating electricity to power a vehicle’s motor.

What are the benefits of hydrogen-powered vehicles?

Like EVs, fuel-cell electric vehicles have zero harmful emissions, operate quietly, and have fewer moving parts that need maintaining.

Fuel cells also benefit from an abundant supply of hydrogen from sources like water via electrolysis. And fuel cell vehicles can be refuelled quickly.

A solution for heavy transport

But one of the big benefits of fuel-cell technology is its potential to help transform New Zealand’s heavy freight transport network.

While heavy transport makes up just 4% of the vehicles on New Zealand’s roads, those trucks contribute around 25% of the country’s transport emissions.

Those heavy vehicle emissions are also tough to combat as larger trucks usually need to be driven over long distances, so taking multiple hours to recharge a battery regularly isn’t a productive option.

Locally owned Hyundai NZ is exploring both hydrogen-powered vehicles and EVs.

Locally owned Hyundai NZ is exploring both hydrogen-powered vehicles and EVs.

Hydrogen-powered trucks, on the other hand, can be a reliable, highly productive replacement to diesel trucks, with longer range and shorter refuelling time.

A commercial refueller can fill a hydrogen fuel-cell truck in under 20 minutes and an SUV in around five minutes – about the same amount of time as it would to fill up with petrol or diesel.

And replacing one diesel truck with a hydrogen-powered truck is equal to taking approximately 100 cars off the roads.

That’s why Hyundai NZ has been laying the groundwork for a more sustainable freight network with the introduction of the country’s first hydrogen-powered truck, the XCIENT FCEV.

New Zealand Post has already snapped up a Hyundai XCIENT FCEV for its fleet as part of its own mission to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Hyundai NZ is planning to expand the availability of these trucks in Aotearoa as it helps support the growth of the country’s hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

Hiringa Energy and the Waitomo Group already have plans to build several hydrogen refuelling points across the North Island by the end of this year. More than 24 of these stations are expected to spread across Aotearoa over the next four to five years.

Why we need both EVs and hydrogen vehicles to cut emissions

Both battery electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles have a big role to play in reducing emissions.

Each of the technologies brings its own advantages and challenges, so a mix of the two is needed to bring a low-carbon future to New Zealand’s roads.

That’s why Hyundai NZ has been investing in both as it adds to the country’s largest range of low-emission vehicles. And with its focus on a positive, sustainable future, it’s committed to playing a key role in helping New Zealand meet its carbon emission targets.

This content was sponsored by Hyundai NZ. You can learn more about their Future Positive focus and see their vehicle range at hyundai.co.nz

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Volta Automotive Ltd which imports and sells Electric Vehicles and Hybrids Car dealers New Zealand and Australia can list and sell on our website www.voltnz.autos

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