Hyundai Nexo – hydrogen fuel cell EV debuts at CES

The Hyundai Nexo makes its debut at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, spearheading the South Korean carmaker’s plans to introduce 18 eco-friendly models to global markets by 2025.

Built on a dedicated architecture, the Nexo benefits from being lighter, faster and roomier compared to the Tucson FCEV. Its hydrogen fuel cell powertrain is also superior, with both the fuel cell stack and battery having more net power to supply a more powerful electric motor. Additionally, the overall system is lighter and better packaged with improved hydrogen storage tanks.

Bringing up some numbers, the Nexo’s net power (135 kW) from the fuel cell (95 kW) and battery (40 kW) is higher than on the Tucson FCEV (124 kW). It also boasts a 120 kW (161 hp)/395 Nm electric motor, which has a higher output compared to the one in the fuel cell-powered Tucson – 100 kW (134 hp)/300 Nm.

Hyundai claims the Nexo has an estimated driving range of up to 595 km thanks to a larger battery, eclipsing the Tucson FCEV’s 426 km. Those who are concerned about accelerations times will note the Nexo makes the zero to 97 km/h sprint (0-60 mph) in 9.5 seconds – three seconds quicker than the Tucson FCEV.

Hyundai Nexo – hydrogen fuel cell EV debuts at CES

The carmaker also tested the vehicle by subjecting to overnight temperatures of -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 degrees Celsius). It adds that the Nexo boasts cold start capability within 30 seconds which is an industry-leading achievement, and the fuel cell system warms up faster for maximum performance.

Additionally, the Nexo has excellent cooling performance on steep grades with temperatures exceeding 120 degree Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). The pluses go on, with refuel times of as low as five minutes and impressive levels of NVH.

While it may look like a concept car, the Nexo is actually slated to go on sale in select markets globally later this year. Visually, it certainly has a more modern-looking exterior compared to the Tucson FCEV, which draws inspiration from the Kona.

Hyundai Nexo – hydrogen fuel cell EV debuts at CES

The front features slim LED DRLs that are linked by what appears to be a light bar between them, coupled with the main headlight below them. A triangular-themed grille gently narrows down towards the number plate, before widening for the lower intake below.

Viewed from the side, we see a typical crossover shape, one that is highlighted by distinct character lines across the door handles and near the lower mouldings. Other cues include a two-tone paintjob, along with a set of five-spoke “fan style” alloy wheels. As for the rear, two-piece taillights are located just above sculpted sections of bodywork and triangle-shaped rear fog lamps.

In terms of dimensions, the Nexo measures 4,671 mm long, 1,859 mm wide, 1,630 mm tall and has a wheelbase spanning 2,789 mm. Aside from its height, all other figures are larger than what you’ll find with the Tucson FCEV.

Hyundai Nexo – hydrogen fuel cell EV debuts at CES

The car’s futuristic cabin has already been shown previously, and clearly reflects the amount of technology crammed into the crossover. For starters, it comes with what Hyundai calls a Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM), which uses cameras to show video footage from both sides of the vehicle’s blind spot when attempting to change lanes.

Also present is a first-for-Hyundai – Lane Following Assist (LFA) and Highway Driving Assist (HDA) – both of which are familiar concepts. In the case of LFA, the system automatically adjusts steering to help keep the vehicle centred in its lane of travel at speed of up to 145 km/h.

Meanwhile, HDA is a form of adaptive cruise control that maintains a vehicle’s distance from the car ahead according to a preset speed and distance. Other autonomous functions include Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA), which enables Nexo to autonomously park or retrieve itself from a parking space with or without a driver in the car.