NZ gets its first hydrogen truck

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Three years ago Hyundai NZ brought the first hydrogen powered car to New Zealand – the Nexo – but the only place it could refuel was the company’s own small plant out the back of its head office in Mt Wellington.

Hyundai NZ General Manager Andy Sinclair described the Nexo’s importation as putting the “egg before the chicken”, but the arrival a few weeks ago of the first XCIENT showed the company is serious about the role it thinks hydrogen will play in our heavy transport sector.

Hydrogen, particularly green hydrogen, presents an attractive opportunity for politicians and and the heavy transport industry to make a quick impact on carbon emissions. It is a ‘here and now’ solution to a major problem.

According to Sinclair, heavy trucks make up 4 percent of our transport fleet but produce 25 percent of its emissions.

“Hydrogen is going to be a critical part of the clean energy mix alongside EVs and biofuels in that bigger picture of how we decarbonise the system.”

This isn’t just hot air from Wood. The Government is investing real money into the hydrogen economy. It’s given Taranaki-based Hiringa Energy a $16 million loan to help it build hydrogen refuelling stations in the North Island. Hiringa, a private company backed by Japan’s Mitsui and Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 fund, is spending $50m on four stations.

The Government put an additional $6m into a joint venture between Hiringa and US hydrogen truck manufacturer Hyzon. This will subsidise the cost of 20 trucks that will arrive here next year, be owned by TR Group and leased to freight companies.

Hyundai NZ received $500,000 of Government money to lower the cost of the five trucks it is bringing from Korea. New Zealand is only the third country outside Korea and Switzerland to get its hands on the XCIENT. The trucks use fuel cells which convert hydrogen to electricity that drives an electric motor. They are commonly referred to as FCEV’s.

Like the Hyzon trucks, the XCIENTs will use Hiringa’s refuelling stations planned for South Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton (the so called golden triangle) and Palmerston North.

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