Hyundai has delivered their first NEXO fuel cell SUV. The first customer was Todd Hochrad of Ventura, California, a former scientist who now owns the first mass-produced fuel cell SUV for the U.S. market.
The big sell on the environmentally friendly hybrid, is its long range, providing up to 666km on a single refuel.
NEXO is the newest expression of their flagship technology, extending their investment in the growing eco-vehicle portfolio.
Mr. Hochrad isn’t the typical automotive buyer, yet he’s the sort of customer looking to drive a zero-emission, hydrogen-powered vehicle. More than 15 years ago, he purchased his first hybrid car and over the years has driven dedicated electric vehicles as well. His new NEXO will deliver about 5x the driving range of his first all-electric car.
Hyundai is pretty proud of NEXO’s technological lineup.
It offers a number of advanced driver assist systems, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist and Remote Smart Parking Assist that enables NEXO to either autonomously park or retrieve itself from either a parallel or perpendicular parking space with or without a driver in the vehicle. Additionally, Hyundai’s Blind-spot View Monitor is an industry-first technology that projects the side views of NEXO in the centre cluster to the driver using cameras while changing lanes with the turn signal on that monitor areas that cannot be seen by a traditional rear view mirror.
With an (estimated) range of 666km, refuelling can be achieved in as little as 5 minutes, allowing a consumer lifestyle very similar to a comparable petrol-powered SUV in terms of range and refuelling speed.
NEXO uses a number of ecological materials in its construction, including soybean-oil based polyurethane paint, bamboo-thread-based bio fabric, along with bio-plastic and bio-carpet extracted from sugar cane. Bio-based materials were applied to 47 different parts and reduced CO2 emissions by 11.8kgs during the manufacturing process.
NEXO vs. ix35 Fuel Cell
Not only is Hyundai’s NEXO fuel cell vehicle built with an exclusive dedicated vehicle architecture and a design that sets it apart from every other vehicle on the road, it is vastly improved over the ix35 Fuel Cell it has replaced. It is quicker, roomier, more efficient and better packaged – all while offering 40 percent more range.
Since its U.S. launch four-and-a-half years ago ix35 Fuel Cell customers have accumulated almost 11 million kilometres on American roads, all, of course, with refuelling times that mirror the convenience of petrol vehicles. And just recently, the Hyundai NEXO was named a winner of the prestigious Wards’ 10 Best Engine award, further highlighting its position as a high-tech and user-friendly vehicle.
Personally I think hydrogen isn’t the future, especially for a country like Australia that has a lot of difficulty with droughts. While long range and fast refueling are benefits, the challenge of yet another infrastructure build out is likely too much and too late, EV is here and is the future.