For long haul and heavy-duty vehicles like trucks, trains and shipping, Mark Cannon is convinced that hydrogen must replace fossil fuel. “We cannot ignore the impact of burning fossil fuels anymore,” he told H2 View. “Only hydrogen has the energy density to make this transition not only possible but economical.”
The co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Canadian innovation company Hydrogen In Motion Inc (H2M) has been the proud owner of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), a Hyundai Nexo, since June 2019. “It’s a much quieter, smoother and cleaner drive compared to a conventional car,” Cannon said. “Performance is very good, with smooth acceleration at any speed and decent handling.”
Cannon owns the car jointly with his partner Grace Quan, co-founder and CEO of H2M. “For six years my partner Grace and I, as part of our commitment to a low carbon lifestyle, did not have a personal vehicle, and instead used public transit, car sharing services and car rental only when necessary,” he said.
“In 2019 we took in Grace’s mother to give her personalised home care as she was approaching 90 yrs old and had mobility challenges. At that point we decided to purchase a vehicle and while we initially looked at a Hyundai electric vehicle, as owners of a hydrogen company and with the support of the President of Hyundai Motors Canada, we were able to obtain Hyundai’s hydrogen vehicle, the Nexo.”
Cannon and Quan live in Vancouver, British Columbia, where there are currently three hydrogen stations: “We live in the Vancouver Metropolitan area, in the heart of downtown Vancouver in the oldest district called Gastown. All three fuelling stations are under 15km from us.”
“Two more stations are coming online in British Columbia in about a year,” he added. “One will be in Kelowna, 407km from Vancouver, and the other will be in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, 114km (most by ferry). These locations will open up the whole south of British Columbia and we look forward to further stations opening up in the states of Washington and Oregon to allow us access to whole west coast in Canada and the US.”
“Filling the car is straight forward and only takes five minutes or so, and the furthest we’ve driven is just over 600km.”
Initially, Cannon said very few people recognised that they were driving a hydrogen FCEV, but since the pandemic more people are thinking about climate change and have approached them to ask about the car. “We have had bus drivers talk to us on the road, and many people have walked up and asked questions after we park,” he said.
H2 View asked Cannon if he had any advice to someone considering buying a hydrogen car. “Electric and hydrogen FCEVs will successfully coexist. It really depends on distances you drive daily and if you have access to a home charging station,” he replied. “Most condo’s do not have the ability to provide charging for electric cars. If you drive less than 100km a day and have access to a home charging station, then electric would be fine for you. Otherwise, look at a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, it will pleasantly surprise you.”
Cannon and Quan co-founded Hydrogen In Motion in 2014 to develop a better way to store hydrogen. The Canadian company has developed an engineered nano-material that adsorbs and desorbs hydrogen at low pressures, is one third smaller than the equivalent 700 bar tank and with mass production will be exponentially cheaper. The H2M tank will revolutionise hydrogen technology opening up markets and allowing accessibility and mass adoption of this clean, zero emission technology.