Friday, 27 April 2018

Australia: Hyster-Yale H2 FC Forklift Launch, Macquarie Park, Sydney

Source: Hydrogen Mobility Australia, 24th April 2018

CEO Speech: Hyster-Yale Hydrogen Fuel Cell Forklift Launch, Macquarie Park, Sydney

To the Member for Bennelong, Mr John Alexander MP, Tony Fagg and the Hyster-Yale team, Hyundai Australia, HMA members and all who are with us for this launch today, it’s a great thrill to be here for this important milestone for hydrogen transport in Australia.

Today we celebrate the introduction of the first forklift in Australia to be powered by hydrogen. It takes us another step towards the proliferation of hydrogen fuel cell transport modes in Australia, and the decarbonisation of the transport sector potentially across every segment. Notably also, it moves us closer to the realisation of Hydrogen Mobility Australia’s vision of a hydrogen society for Australia.

​Since becoming aware of Hyster-Yale’s program to introduce their product to Australia, I’ve done some research into the global fuel cell forklift market and it’s abundantly clear that hydrogen is an emerging force within the materials handling space, not only due to its environmental merits but also as the economics simply make sense. Companies such as Amazon, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble and IKEA are all jumping on board and integrating hydrogen fuel cell forklifts into their fleets, not only as part of their commitment to a greener footprint, but also due to savings across the lifecycle.

Walmart for instance announced the purchase of 1,700 hydrogen-powered units in 2014, adding to the 535 already in their fleet. They in fact cited cost effectiveness to justify the investment, most notably the savings from time saved refueling. Similarly, Amazon rolled out hydrogen forklifts across 11 of its warehouses in 2017. It is evident that hydrogen is poised to capture a much larger share of the overall market for materials handling equipment around the world, and now most importantly, here in Australia.

Industry collaboration will be essential to take advantage of this exciting opportunity within both the commercial and passenger vehicle segments, so it’s wonderful to see an example of this in practice between Hyster-Yale and Hyundai. Similarly, the numerous joint activities between Toyota and Hyundai over the last few years again demonstrates the importance of setting our competitive nature to the side and thinking how can we work together for benefit of the industry as a whole. As there is something much bigger at play here than simply selling product or equipment, the environment for future generations is at stake and hydrogen can play an important role in mitigating this.

And this is one of the reasons for the establishment of Hydrogen Mobility Australia, to facilitate these collaborative opportunities between our members, broader industry and governments to advance the sector and address our environmental challenges by integrating the most abundant element in the universe into the energy mix. And so our mantra at HMA is that a rising tide lifts all ships or should I say forklifts!

​Our lighthouse project is one example of this. Set to be one of the first public refuelling stations in Australia it will see a collaboration of all our members through the provision of expertise, equipment and vehicles. The objective of this project is to be a springboard for a nation-wide hydrogen refuelling network while educating government and the community about the wide-ranging benefits of hydrogen as a flexible energy vector, capable of linking every industry sector.

​We are currently talking to all levels of government about this opportunity, including sharing international practice whereby public-private partnerships have been essential to overcome the cost and regulatory barriers associated with this new technology. Such partnerships are being seen locally with the ACT Government as well as the Victorian Government with the City of Moreland working with several of our members, but there is more to be done to take advantage of this opportunity and HMA looks forward to continuing to engage with government on this.

Finally, it is also with great pleasure that I announce Hyster-Yale as Hydrogen Mobility Australia’s newest member. The addition of Hyster-Yale to our membership is a strategic one, it marks a strengthening of our coverage in the materials handling space and more broadly the heavy transport sector, an area where hydrogen’s benefits are particularly pronounced. It also takes us to 11 members, all of which are committed to our agenda to advance the hydrogen economy.

You may be aware that HMA only publicly announced its establishment just two and a half months ago. The response from industry and government has been overwhelmingly positive and I believe that this is a signal of the critical mass emerging around the hydrogen opportunity which I think we all can sense. I expect I may be biased, however I do feel that we are all part of a pretty special opportunity to make a difference to the world – whether it be addressing climate change, air quality, energy security or energy diversification – hydrogen, being the incredible energy carrier it is, delivers it all.

​So once again congratulations to Hyster-Yale and thank you for committing to the Australian marketplace. Now let’s get to the exciting part and see this forklift in action.


Claire Johnson
Phone: 0401 282 550

For more information about Hydrogen Mobility Australia, please visit