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Watch out for this hydrogen-powered prime mover on Brisbane roads

Australia’s first hydrogen-powered prime mover, the Taurus, is expected to be making food deliveries around Brisbane for PepsiCo in a semi-trailer configuration before the end of the year.

The partnership with Pure Hydrogen, a Sydney-based, ASX-listed hydrogen supplier/producer and HDrive, a specialist hydrogen vehicle manufacturer, officially launched at a media event at RACQ Mobility Centre in Mt Cotton last week.

Manufactured in Asia but designed in Australia as a new build, the 6×2 Taurus is a 220kW 64 prime mover which has a driving range of up to 400km. A 70 tonne B-double will be a 6×4 with 440kW.

The construction process utilised top-of-the-range components, including Ballard Power fuel cells, Hexagon hydrogen fuel cylinders, and Hendrickson suspension, said Pure Hydrogen in a media launch statement.

Those who trialled the truck at Mt Cotton were impressed with what they saw and experienced in laps around the track.

There are fold out steps into the cab, which boasts a stylish interior. By all accounts it was a smooth drive, with the regenerative braking an added bonus.

The Taurus has full air suspension, front and rear and is built to width with no special permits required. It has 6.5 tonnes on the front axle and weighs approximately 10 tonnes, depending on how many hydrogen tanks are on board.

The Taurus on show at Mt Cotton had three but reportedly has the capability to accommodate five, giving it a range of up to 1000km.

It takes about 12 minutes to refuel which is comparable to the time it takes to put 800-900 litres into a diesel tank.

L-R] Ben Kiddle (HDrive), Mick de Brenni, Kyle Faulconer (PepsiCo), Scott Brown and Clint Butler (Pure Hydrogen) give the Taurus the thumbs up.

Specific costs weren’t revealed to the media on the day, but Big Rigs understands that Pure Hydrogen will offer a package arrangement that sees customers pay a fee for the vehicle and in return receive fuel and general maintenance. Consumables, such as tyres, are seen as an additional cost.

Meanwhile, under the launch agreement with PepsiCo, if the company determines that the vehicle has a commercial use case, it has the option to order additional hydrogen-powered vehicles from this year through to 2025.

The official launch of the Taurus forms part of Pure Hydrogen’s strategy to “spearhead the growth of a broader hydrogen ecosystem in Australia and internationally”, including vehicles and associated infrastructure such as hydrogen production and distribution.

The Taurus is the first of several other fuel vehicles/devices that Pure Hydrogen is working with its partners to deliver to market, including waste collection trucks, concrete trucks, refrigeration trucks, generators, delivery trucks and buses.

“This launch event is the latest exciting step in our development strategy for hydrogen-powered vehicles in Australia,” said Scott Brown, Pure Hydrogen managing director.

“It marks the perfect opportunity to set out a path forward for the future of Australia’s hydrogen vehicle industry, with the support of key stakeholders in business and government.”

“A key part of Pure’s strategy is to provide hydrogen solutions to potential customers by bringing both the devices and the hydrogen needed to power them. The Taurus marks an important step in this strategy, and commercial interest from PepsiCo and other parties has been most encouraging to-date.”

Brown added that Pure Hydrogen has had productive conversations with potential customers in the heavy vehicle industry, which it will look to convert into “value-generating relationships”.

Brown said Pure Hydrogen is specifically targeting the heavy transport sector. The company has already announced plans to build a hydrogen hub at Moreton Bay.

“There is a growing consensus that increased weight, limited driving range and longer recharging times make battery-electric vehicles unviable for heavy transport. Contrastingly, hydrogen fuel cells electric vehicles overcome these barriers,” Brown added.

“We look forward to launching the vehicle with the support of PepsiCo, our development partners and the Queensland Government.”

Mick de Brenni, the Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, also jumped behind the wheel for a lap of Mt Cotton.

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