One lonely pump fuels Surrey’s hydrogen-powered cars

Just eight of the high-tech Hyundai Tucsons are currently driven on Metro Vancouver streets

Steve Mathews fills a Hyundai Tucson fuel-cell electric vehicle

SURREY — The city’s loneliest fuel station is probably the one located outside the Powertech Labs building on 88th Avenue.

The high-tech pump is used to fill hydrogen-powered vehicles – just eight of which are currently driven on Metro Vancouver streets.

“This is the only station like this in Canada at the moment,” said Steve Mathews, who builds hydrogen fuelling stations with Powertech.

“It’s a chicken-and-egg thing,” Mathews added.

“The vehicle manufacturers have proven they can build the vehicle, and now they need the infrastructure to be put in place in order to bring out more vehicles. It’s about working together to bring more vehicles along and also more stations.”

All eight hydrogen-powered cars in B.C. were recently brought to the Jim Pattison Hyundai dealership at the North Surrey Auto Mall. Six of the Tucsons were quickly leased out for $3,600 down and $599 a month; two of the cars are used for media test drives.

Last week, the Now was given use of one of the cars for seven days.

The virtually silent fuel-cell electric vehicle, or FCEV, is built in South Korea along with others mass-produced by Hyundai, the first manufacturer to bring hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to Canada.

As part of a deal with Hyundai, the leased Tucsons can be filled up for free at Powertech’s hydrogen pump.

Most of the vehicle operators live relatively close to the station, because if the vehicle runs out of hydrogen fuel, it must be towed.

“The customers we get here are very happy with how this works,” Mathews said, “but of course people would like more stations, and we’d like to see more cars, too.”

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

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