KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) is one of the big punchers at the KL International Motor Show (KLIMS) 2018. The brand’s stand houses a variety of cars – from new models for Malaysia (Santa Fe, Grand Starex facelift), cars that are coming soon (Kona 1.6 Turbo), eco-friendly tech showcases (Kona Electric), interest gauging models (Accent) and even a performance corner with the i30 N hot hatch.

In this post, we’ll zoom in on the Hyundai Nexo. This is not just your regular electric car, but a hydrogen fuel cell-powered SUV. The Nexo debut earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and is a tech sequel to the Tucson/ix35 FCEV, Hyundai’s previous fuel cell effort.

Built on a dedicated architecture, the Nexo is lighter, faster and roomier than the Tucson FCEV. It looks like a bespoke tech flagship too, and not just an FCEV version of a regular ICE-powered SUV. Seven years have passed since the Korean carmaker completed development of the Tucson FCEV, and since then fuel cell technology – experimented by the likes of Hyundai, Toyota, Honda and Mercedes-Benz – have progressed.

KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

Net power from the Nexo’s fuel cell (95 kW) and battery (40 kW) is higher than in the Tucson FCEV, at 135 vs 124 kW. The 120 kW (161 hp)/395 Nm electric motor also has a higher output compared to the old car’s 100 kW (134 hp)/300 Nm. The overall system is also lighter and better packaged, with improved hydrogen storage tanks.

Claimed estimated driving range is up to 595 km, which is significantly higher than the 426 km Hyundai claimed for the Tucson FCEV. At 9.5 seconds, the Nexo is also three seconds faster from 0 to 96 km/h (60 mph).

Bare figures aside, the Nexo also performs better in the real world. Hyundai subjected the SUV to overnight temperatures of -29 degrees Celsius, and says that the Nexo’s cold start capability of within 30 seconds is an industry-leading achievement. The fuel cell system also warms up faster for better performance. Refuelling times are now as low as five minutes and NVH performance have been improved.

KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

As for dimensions, the five-seater Nexo is 4,671 mm long and 1,859 mm wide, which puts it 196 mm longer and 9 mm wider than today’s Tucson. The FCEV’s 2,789 mm wheelbase is 119 mm longer than Hyundai’s mid-size SUV.

The full-width strip of LED daytime running lights across the face is one of the exterior design highlights, while the button-rich cockpit’s combined digital instrument panel and centre screen has a cute treetop “roof” on it.

Is the future with regular EVs – which might consume energy from polluting and/or non-renewable sources – or fuel cell EVs, which are powered by an abundant source of hydrogen?

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • Ah beng Level 2 on Nov 23, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Now tats wat i call the REAL DEAL with REAL TECH vs the showing off Mivi GT Edition, and the schoolboyish comical P2 and P1 jaguh kampung Tuah etc

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1
    • ah beng level 3 on Nov 25, 2018 at 12:13 am

      You can say that again to this car next year when new cars with better tech coming in

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  • Everything is so squarish inside, looks like an 80s interior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0
    • Hyundai got no RV on Nov 24, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Yep. Hyundai Resale Value is very terrible. Hyundai design is suck and damn ugly. CKD Hyundai Santa Fe is actually overpriced and very ridiculous. People will buy Kia Sorento, Nissan X-Trail, Proton X70 and Honda CR-V over this including other Hyundai models cause their price is normal and got good RV including Kia. Buyer should beware that Hyundai battery that cost RM130K. Okay for 5 years because warranty. But after 5 yrs, RV will fall to RM50k because people will be scared to buy the car for fear the battery might kong. Then you have to pay cash that cost ridiculous.
      The kind of Sime Darby Hyundai Malaysia looks wierd and having terrible planning and always giving such terrible resale value as compare to Sime Darby Ford and including other carmakers too.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 62 Thumb down 8
  • Copy Paste on Nov 23, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    Nexo front looks like it was copied from Mazda BL generation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
  • Front is nice, but back is ugly

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
  • I still remember the very first hyundai coupe on display alongside the boxy sonata during KLIMS @ PWTC during the 90’s….

    Hyundai has achieved so much these past 2 decades….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
    • hahaha on Nov 25, 2018 at 12:16 am

      Toyota also achieves much, look at the bumper now they use resin to get the shape.

      Wait, resin???????????


      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  • Semi-Value (Member) on Nov 25, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    it looks very early 2000’s

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • The dash looks like a 80’s Panasonic tape reorder … Retro !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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