Hyundai has set a new world record for the longest distance travelled by a series production, hydrogen-powered vehicle, as a Nexo managed to cover 778 km on a single tank of hydrogen. The feat was undertaken by French aeronaut and president of the Solar Impulse Foundation Bertrand Piccard, who drove from the FaHyence hydrogen station in Sarreguemines to the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in Le Bourget, France.

The Swiss national wasn’t alone on his journey, as several prominent passengers joined him along the way, including Benoît Potier, CEO of Air Liquide, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, among others.

By the end of the 778-km trip, the car still had 49 km of range left, and purified a total of 404.6 kL, which is equivalent to the volume of air that 23 adults breathe in a day. Doing the same trip in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine would have emitted around 111.2 kg, the carmaker noted.

“With this adventure, we have proven that with clean technologies, we no longer need revolutionary experimental prototypes to break records. Everyone can now do it with standard zero-emission vehicles. A new era in performance is beginning, for the benefit of environmental protection,” said Piccard.

“While some may doubt the relevance of hydrogen in tomorrow’s cars, we at Hyundai have believed in it since 1998, when we began our developments on this technology. Thanks to this record set by Bertrand Piccard, all doubt has been dispelled,” commented Lionel French-Keogh, managing director of Hyundai Motor France.

“As well as being listened to worldwide, Bertrand is a charismatic character who knows better than anyone how to raise awareness of climate issues. We share with him the conviction that it is possible to change our consumption in a sustainable way and hydrogen is an answer to this issue. We see respect for the environment as a vector for growth and not as an obstacle to innovation,” he added.

The Nexo, which is built on a dedicated platform, is the replacement for the Tucson ix35 FCEV, and is powered by an electric motor that delivers 163 PS and 395 Nm. The car’s fuel cell system combines oxygen and hydrogen to a flow of electrons that powers the electric motor and charges the 1.56 kWh high-voltage battery. According to Hyundai, the fuel cell stack generates 95 kW of power, while the battery outputs 40 kW.

Hydrogen is drawn from three fuel tanks that offer a combined capacity of 156 litres, which provides up to 666 km of range following WLTP regulations and 756 km with the NEDC. In terms of performance, the Nexo takes 9.2 seconds to get from zero to 100 km/h, and will hit a top speed of 179 km/h.

GALLERY: Hyundai Nexo at the 2018 KL International Motor Show