Environmentally friendly hydrogen cars built at Port Kembla should be on the road within two years.
The revelation was made at an Illawarra Innovative Industry Network (i3net) industry breakfast at the Novotel Northbeach on Tuesday.
The networking event was a sell-out due to the level of interest in an H2X Australia car manufacturing factory earmarked for Port Kembla and progress on the next phase of the Port Kembla gas terminal.
H2X Australia chief powertrain and production officer Peter Zienau said he would return to Port Kembla within a few weeks to announce the preferred site for the hydrogen car factory.
H2X has already held meetings with the University of Wollongong, TAFE and other organisations as it works towards producing competitive hydrogen vehicles for the Australian market.
Topics discussed include what future demands for education and skills might come from having a car manufacturing plant at Port Kembla.
"We have a clear strategy. By 2024-25 we should be able to utilise 80 per cent local content in all our products," Mr Zienau said.
When H2X announces its preferred site it plans to invite the business, industry and education community along for an open house to explore opportunities to work together.
"We like to be very transparent in our approach to selecting partners," Mr Zienau said.
He said building an automotive manufacturing plant was a long-term commitment and required a long-term vision and plan as well as long-term partnerships.
And once the H2X plant opens it will be the start of a continual improvement process to remain globally competitive in the production of hydrogen vehicles.
"We foresee within a very short time frame we will have several hundred people around the Port Kembla facility directly employed by H2X," Mr Zienau said.
And many more jobs would be created at other businesses who supplied and supported the factory in different ways.
Mr Zienau said the production of the first vehicles at Port Kembla in the second half of 2022 was timed to coincide with the roll-out of adequate infrastructure.
He said it was important to ensure enough hydrogen was being produced and adequate refuelling capacity was in place for motorists driving hydrogen cars.
Some other applications would be ready by the second quarter of 2021 when H2X technology was used in existing vehicles such as upgrades to buses to provide zero emission transport.
"We call it an environmentally friendly upgrade".
Mr Zienau said when H2X Australia announced its intention to build hydrogen cars at Port Kembla it was inundated with requests to produce a hydrogen ute for the Australian market.
He expected the technology to be initially popular for the SUV market and taxis.
The first hydrogen cars would be as quick to refuel as a petrol or diesel vehicle and be able to travel up to 500km.
- Wollongong's most iconic restaurant The Charcoal Tavern reopens soon on the original site in the new 21-storey Signature Wollongong
- They told him it would never work but 40 years later Jim Eddy can celebrate the story of how he took some farm land at Jamberoo and turned it into a major theme park
- New look wellness centre at Jamberoo Resort healthy for region's visitor economy
- Take a look inside Lake Illawarra's historic manor house up for sale
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.
Sign up for our newsletters for the latest news