Hydrogen-powered cars just around the corner for Kiwis

Car company Hyundai says it's confident refuelling will be available for zero-emission hydrogen-powered cars in New Zealand within a year.

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The hydrogen-powered vehicle could be the future for clean green Kiwi motorists. Source: Seven Sharp

Two Hyundai Nexo SUVs have been brought here to fuel the conversation about hydrogen-powered vehicles, Seven Sharp reported.

But as with electric vehicles, there's one question above all others that needs to be answered - range anxiety.

"No anxiety with this - 660 kilometres and you can refuel within six minutes. So where's the anxiety?" said Andy Sinclair, Hyundai New Zealand General Manager.

However, right now it's the classic case of what comes first - the car or the refuelling infrastructure.

Gavin Young of Hyundai NZ said the company is "confident we will have a refuelling solution within the next 12 months".

Linda Wright, head of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association, said work is well advanced on how the necessary refuelling infrastructure can be implemented here.

"Where the infrastructure is at internationally, it's just a bowser offering," she said.

"We have got the technology and we need to take responsibility for the investment to deliver that for future generations."

Hydrogen-powered cars are called a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, and the fuel cells are the key to converting the hydrogen gas.

Gavin Young explained hydrogen comes through a fuel process system in the car, and that gets fed into 460 fuel cells stacked in the engine block.

"There's an electrochemical process that takes place which generates electricity, which then drives the electric motor down the bottom," he said.

"The only byproduct out of that whole process is clean air and clean water.

"It's clean and pure enough to sustain fish in an aquarium," he added, displaying fish in an aquarium of water from the car.

A New Zealand price for the Nexo had not been set, but they sell for around $91,000 (US$58,300) in the United States.