Could hydrogen-powered cars soon take over New Zealand roads?

A car that can go 1000 kilometres on one tank of fuel and takes three minutes to fill up is coming to New Zealand in 2020.

The car in question is a hydrogen car and is just one of many concepts revealed at the world's biggest car show this week in Shanghai.

Massive brands New Zealand has never heard of, like the world's biggest electric vehicle company BYD, are unveiling new models as part of the exhibition.

BYD is having an international makeover after it poached Audi's top designer.

"This means we create two families - one EV, the other hybrid - and gas and EV's are rising to become the most important," BYD Head of Design Wolfgang Egger told Newshub.

Twenty-four million cars were sold in China alone in 2018 which means international brands will change their cars for the market and those models will never be available anywhere else in the world.

German car giant BMW released new China-only models because the country is its biggest market and increasingly having a major influence on future design.

"When you are designing a car four or five years before going into production, you have to be quite progressive and you know Chinese demands are actually helping us bring this on the road," BMW head of design Domagoj Dukec said.

The next model of car China is demanding is hydrogen-powered.

Government subsidies have driven hydrogen start-ups promising cars with a massive range.

"The idea is these cars can be filled within three minutes. The sedan is capable of around 1000 kilometres, the SUV is capable of around 1200 kilometres," Brendan Norman from Grove Auto Hydrogen said.

The first cars of this kind will be on Chinese roads later this year and the company has its eye on New Zealand.

"Already we are looking with a partner to develop the market within New Zealand. We are hoping to have cars on the road in the second half of next year as well," Norman added.

"Why New Zealand? New Zealand came across my desk very early on in terms of the market being forward thinking about hydrogen infrastructure."

While this infrastructure doesn't yet exist in New Zealand, if China wants it then perhaps the world and New Zealand will get it.