Yesterday Australia’s first publicly available Hydrogen refueling station went into operation. Located in the ACT, this is hydrogen station is run by ActewAGL.
For those not familiar with ActewAGL, its a joint venture company that provides utility services in the Australian Capital Territory and south-east New South Wales and is a ACT Government-owned corporation. This means the ACT Government are so desperate for hydrogen to be a reality, they are paying to build out a non-existent refueling network.
Despite the hydrogen refueling station originally being scheduled for opening in December of 2019, the station is only now launching in Q1, 2021. That delay could largely be attributed to the lack of FCEV vehicles in the market. Even today, neither the Toyota Mirai, and Hyndai Nexo Fuel-Cell vehicles are available for consumers to buy.
Despite the number of refueling locations available literally being at 1 right now, the ACT Government has purchased 20 of them, presumably to be seen to be green, purchasing a zero emission vehicle.
The problem with that is just how irresponsible that decision is, using tax payer’s dollars to buy hydrogen vehicles, when there’s far better Electric Vehicle options on the market.
CarAdvice have had a chance to review the Nexo (which doesn’t include purchase price costs). In that review, they reveal the price per kg is $15. Given the 150L tank, the cost of refueling using hydrogen is a massive $90 to reach the maximum range of 666km.
Filling the 150-litre tank from empty will take five minutes and grant you a combined range of 666km. In terms of cost, 150-litres of hydrogen weighs 6kg. The cost at the pump currently is $15 per kg, which results in a full tank from empty costing $90.
While the range of 666km for the vehicle is impressive and a refuel time of , they had to put a massive tank in the car to achieve that. A $90 cost to refuel places this as one of the most expensive vehicles to run.
- $90 Hydrogen refueling / per 666km = 0.135 per km
- $44 Supercharging a Tesla / per 600km = 0.0733 per km ($0.47 per kWh)
Things get even more interesting if we look at charging at home, which attracts a much cheaper rate, particularly if we include off-peak rates, given a majority of EV charging is scheduled to occur overnight.
- $15.45 Off-peak charging a Tesla at home / 500km range = 0.0309 per km (0.1818kw/h).
Basically the cost of travelling in the Hyundai Nexo, versus a Tesla Model 3, is almost double at Supercharging rates and as we know, there’s not only hundreds of Tesla Superhcarging locations around the country, there’s hundreds more fast chargers from 3rd party networks.
When we consider the Hydrogen versus charging overnight using off-peak electricity prices, it’s almost criminal to consider a Nexo by comparison and that’s before you account for the reduced servicing costs. If Tesla isn’t you’re thing, there’s a growing number of great EVs to choose from and all have similar economic and the same zero-emission story that just beats Hydrogen every day of the week.
There’s no simpler way of saying this than the economics of hydrogen don’t make sense. The lack of infrastructure doesn’t make sense. This attempt by multiple Government bodies to fund Hydrogen is a waste of time, effort and especially money. Instead, Governments should be using this capital to accelerate charging infrastructure for cars that people will actually buy.
The one advantage of a hydrogen vehicle is the refueling time of 3-5 minutes, but that’s easily outweighed by the dramatic inconvenience of having to travel to this location to refuel. If you don’t live or work near this location (99.99% of the population don’t), then a hydrogen car just doesn’t make sense in any way shape or form.