THE country’s only hydrogen fuel cell car was one of the main attractions at the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival, which was expected to draw an estimated 8000 automotive and environmental enthusiasts to Newcastle during the weekend.
The sixth annual festival was billed as one of the largest sustainable transport events in Australia and featured the latest in electric vehicles, clean energy and alternative transport.
It also promoted the development of electric vehicle industries in the region.
Exhibitors included Tesla, Nissan, Toyota, Sunswift, Quiet Rush, Catavolt, Varley, Skillion Bikes and Peugeot.
Hyundai displayed its ix35 Fuel Cell, which has an electric engine powered by hydrogen mixing with oxygen.
It emits only water from the exhaust pipe, leaving no carbon footprint.
The Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle established the event in 2011.
Institute director Professor Tim Roberts said the festival also generated interest among high school students who design, build and race their own electric bikes for the main Electric Vehicle Prize.
“Each year we continue to receive positive feedback from parents and teachers involved in the festival that say they’ve seen an improvement in student engagement at school as a direct result of the event,” Professor Roberts said.
“This year we have also added a new race category for teams of primary students to develop their own mini solar car kits and race them on the track to start that interest earlier.
“It really is a festival that is accessible to everyone – from environmental enthusiasts to the general public.”