The Australian market is witnessing the introduction of two cutting-edge hydrogen cars, Hyundai’s Nexo SUV and Toyota’s Mirai sedan, available for purchase through special orders. These eco-friendly cars tout an impressive drive range, surpassing most conventional electric vehicles, with the Mirai leading at 403 miles, followed closely by the Tesla Model S at 405 miles and the Nexo at an impressive 413 miles.

One standout advantage of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is their rapid refueling time of just 5 minutes, a significant departure from the hours required for electric vehicles. However, the current limitation lies in the sparse availability of hydrogen refueling stations in Australia, numbering only four. Recognizing this challenge, Hyundai is forging partnerships with a popular gas station to integrate hydrogen pumps alongside traditional petroleum options.

In contrast to traditional electric vehicles, hydrogen cars eliminate the need for heavy batteries to store electricity. Instead, they generate a continuous supply of electricity through a process called electrolysis, wherein they pull in oxygen from the atmosphere and mix it with stored hydrogen. This innovation contributes to a steady power source without the dependence on extensive charging infrastructure.

Despite these strides, prominent figures in the automotive industry, such as Elon Musk and the CEO of Volkswagen, have raised strong opposition to the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology. Musk has famously criticized hydrogen fuel cells as “mind-bogglingly stupid” and “the most dumb thing” for energy storage. He substantiated his claim by sharing a chart on Twitter illustrating that battery-powered electric vehicles are three times more efficient at converting renewable electricity into horsepower compared to hydrogen vehicles.

The CEO of Volkswagen echoed Musk’s sentiments, branding hydrogen cars as “nonsensical” and emphasizing the substantial energy requirements. According to him, hydrogen vehicles demand energy from three to four times as many windmills as electric vehicles for the same distance, making them economically less viable for travel.

In alignment with this skepticism, Clean Technica, a reputable source on clean energy, stated, “Hydrogen fuel cells may be the technology of choice for some industrial processes and hard-to-electrify transport segments such as ocean shipping and aviation, but they aren’t suitable for passenger vehicles.”

However, supporters of hydrogen cars point out a compelling advantage – the absence of damaging mining processes associated with their production. This green attribute adds to the appeal of hydrogen cars, positioning them as a more environmentally friendly option in comparison to electric vehicles that rely on resource-intensive mining practices for battery production.

t’s worth mentioning that the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell car has been successfully operating in the United States for some time, providing a tangible example of the feasibility and success of hydrogen vehicles in real-world scenarios. Moreover, proponents emphasize the environmental benefits of hydrogen cars, highlighting that the only emission from these zero-emission vehicles is water, and they actively filter pollutants from the air as they traverse the roads. Additionally, it’s crucial to note that hydrogen cars do not necessitate damaging mining processes, further contributing to their appeal as a sustainable transportation option. As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, the debate over the viability of hydrogen cars will undoubtedly persist, with proponents and skeptics shaping the narrative of the industry’s future.

Honda Clarity Hydrogen Cars
Honda Clarity Fuel Cell car has been successfully operating in the United States for some time
Hydrogen Cars —2023 NEXO Fuel Cell
2023 NEXO Fuel Cell gets an impressive 413 miles per tankful

Photos: Hyundai, Toyota

Related: The Dirty Truth About Electric Cars

Previous article2024 Mitsubishi Mirage: Compact Efficiency Redefined
Next article2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport