The South Korean giant is among the few automakers – alongside Toyota and Honda – still intent on bringing to market fuel cell electric vehicles, and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas marked the premiere of their next generation hydrogen crossover, the Nexo.
Officially entitled Nexo, the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle is the follow up to the initial hydrogen-powered crossover, the Tucson FCEV, on sale around the world. Compared to the outgoing model, based on an existing model – the Tucson SUV – the new Nexo is faster, more reliable, more efficient and more spacious. The Nexo now rides on its own custom architecture, meaning it can be easily adapted to the requirements of a fuel cell car, with better packaging of the fuel tanks, three of them stored under the floor, complete with a lithium-ion battery pack in the trunk. The car will take on 14 pounds of hydrogen, versus 12.4, and the storage system itself is 36 pounds lighter.
The fuel cell stack – used to convert hydrogen into electricity – is also smaller, with all moving parts (drive motor and cooling components) now located in the traditional place, under the hood. The fuel-cell stack has 95 kilowatts of power, and combined with the battery’s 40 kW, there’s a combined output of 135 kW for the electric motor. The latter is also enhanced, now at 120 kW and 291 pound-feet of torque, adding 20 kW and 70 lb-ft. – so acceleration times have gone down from 12.5 seconds to 9.9 seconds to 60 miles per hour. Durability is good for a 10-year/100,000-mile life span – while testing also included cold weather trials, now the Nexo is good for full power in a matter of minutes. The crossover also gets a better rating – 350 miles of range against the EPA’s Tucson FCEV’s rating of 265 miles.