Official details and specifications of the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo have been announced, becoming the first fuel cell vehicle in Australia to officially go on sale.
With a 120kW electric motor powered by a fuel cell stack that can be refilled at hydrogen refill stations in a matter of minutes, using what is the most abundant element in the universe as its source of “fuel”.
Otherwise known as FCEVs, hydrogen-powered vehicles offer a similar refuelling experience to combustion vehicles but the trade-off is a more energy-intense process to extract, store and distribute hydrogen.
And then there is also the refuelling infrastructure, which is more expensive to install than electric charging stations and currently only available in Australia at a very limited number of locations.
That said, the introduction of the Nexo represents a turning point in the zero-emissions transport market for Australia.
“The arrival of Nexo on Australian roads as an ADR-approved production vehicle is a landmark in Hyundai’s ongoing commitment to green mobility and to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology,” said Hyundai Motor Company CEO Jun Heo in a statement.
While fuel cells have been around in the UK for several years now (so much so that ex-Top Gear host James May recently decided to sell his), this is the first time they’ve been available to the public locally.
About to be trialled in the ACT, the 20 Nexos will play a key role in helping the territory reduce its transport-related carbon emissions.
Today’s announcement does not include pricing but does confirm that the Nexo will now also be available to the public as well as business customers by making a “special order” for the all-inclusive “ownership” package via Hyundai’s internal sales department that is expected to cost about the same as a large SUV lease and will include all maintenance under the agreement.
The Hyundai Nexo is powered buy a 95kW fuel cell stack that can store 156.5 litres of hydrogen, offering 666km driving range according to the WLTP cycle. Extra energy recuperated via braking is stored in an additional 1.56kWh battery.
Just one trim will be offered in Australia, with safety features including Hyundai’s “SmartSense” active safety suite as standard, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, forward and reverse autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and collision-avoidance, and rear cross-traffic alert.
A full glass sunroof and 1466 litres boot space with the seats down (461 with seats up) give a sense of spaciousness, while other features include full LED headlights, an electronic tailgate, leather seat trim, an 8-speaker Krell sound system, and 19-inch wheels.
Connectivity in the Nexo is accessible via a 12.3 inch touchscreen and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while a second 7-inch touchscreen presents vehicle instruments, and smartphones can be charged via the wireless charging system.
The Nexo is available in four metallic colours with differing interior trims including White Cream Mica and Dusk Blue Metallic exterior shades are offered with a Stone Grey two-tone interior, whilst Cocoon Silver and Copper are linked to a dark blue interior.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.