Civic shoppers and office workers could have been forgiven for not noticing when Chief Minister Andrew Barr, and the minister for environment and climate change, Simon Corbell, cruised down London Circuit aboard the car of the future on Tuesday afternoon.
Their ride was neither a DeLorean or something out of the Jetsons. It was an incredibly standard looking Hyundai ix35.
The only things out of the ordinary were the "Fuel cell" stickers on the doors, a "Hydrgn" number plate and the fact water, not exhaust fumes, came out of the tail pipe.
The ACT government will soon have a fleet of 20 hydrogen-powered Hyundais at the beck and call of selected users as a result of a $180 million hydrogen energy storage investment by Neoen, Megawatt Capital and Union Fenosa.
As part of the deal Canberra will also get the first hydrogen fuel station outside of Hyundai's Macquarie Park headquarters in Sydney.
Mr Corbell said Neoen and Megawatt had been successful in the recent ACT 200MW Next Generation Renewables auction and, as a result, needed to make contributions to the government's vision for Canberra as an internationally recognised centre for renewable energy innovation and investment.
While the Hyundai hydrogen cars are not available for public sale, Canberra's 20 are coming as part of a $23 million Renewable Transport Fuels Test Berth to be established by Neoen and expected to come on line in the ACT in 2018.
The intention is to provide sufficient fuel-grade hydrogen for more than 1000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles each travelling up to 14,000 kilometres a year using electricity generated by the wind.
Mr Corbell said the ACT government's strong position on renewables, which had initially been met with scepticism in many quarters, had been vindicated.
While the car that visited Canberra on Tuesday was left-hand drive, the 20 vehicles that are being added to the ACT government fleet will all be later models and come in right-hand drive.
Neoen and Megawatt, the developers of the Hornsdale Wind Farm, are to invest $55 million in partnership with Siemens and Hyundai to establish the 1.25MW hydrogen electrolyser that will create the fuel. Siemens is to open an office in the ACT's energy innovation precinct.
Union Fenosa, the developer of the Crookwell Windfarm, is to invest $125 million into research and development, in conjunction with the Australian National University and ActewAGL, on the efficient production of hydrogen from renewables with a view to using it as part of the ACT's energy mix.
Mr Corbell said the ACT would meet its target of having 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and that this would reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 per cent on 1990 levels.