Hyundai has caught its stride in the past few years shifting away from bland, conventional designs to something more quirky, daring, and sometimes downright weird. The 2020 Hyundai Nexo is a classic case in point, in a good way. Not only does it have unconventional looks, but the amount of technology on board and its hydrogen fuel cell powertrain could provide a glimpse into one possible future for personal transportation, as we continue to expand beyond gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.
In this video, Tommy takes a more comprehensive look at one of Hyundai’s most bespoke modern cars to date. The Nexo sits on a purpose-built platform, with its hydrogen fuel cell and battery stack feeding a single, front-mounted electric motor putting out 161 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. The Nexo’s three hydrogen tanks hold a total of 156.6 liters of fuel. With a power density, per Hyundai’s specifications, of 3.1 kW per liter, the Nexo can manage up to 380 miles with that capacity of hydrogen in the most efficient “Blue” model. The slightly less efficient Limited manages 354 miles of driving range.
One of the advantages to a hydrogen-powered car over a battery-electric vehicle is the refueling process. It’s fairly straightforward and similar to gasoline or diesel, and you don’t have to wait for it to charge back up. Unfortunately, because of the lack of infrastructure right now, you’re really only able to buy and run one of these cars in California. At time of writing, the state has 40 hydrogen stations. There are few places to fill up throughout the rest of the U.S.
More technology in the 2020 Hyundai Nexo
One of the first tests up for the Hyundai Nexo isn’t just driving it on the road, but parking it. That’s because the hydrogen-powered car does have the “Smart Park” feature, which also debuted on the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. The first challenge involves parking the car between the Land Rover LR3 and our Smart ForTwo EV. The car should park itself between a wide space, and you can even use the key fob to do it. Can it actually park itself? The video above shows just how far this technology has come.
As for the driving experience, the 2020 Hyundai Nexo is pretty normal for how much technology is onboard. It drives like a normal electric car. The quirky part about it, though, is accelerating. While battery-electrics provide instant torque, the Nexo takes a moment as it pulls in more air to generate more electricity through the hydrogen fuel cell. Because it’s a hydrogen car, it also “exhausts” water from underneath as a byproduct of mixing hydrogen and oxygen from the air.
Provided you can actually buy one (again, mainly if you live in California for the time being), the Nexo starts at $58,735. That’s a hefty price, but you are eligible for alternative fuel credits. It’s also sensible to lease the Nexo, since you are able to do that for under $400 a month.