The number of hydrogen cars can be counted on one hand, there are currently only two serious competitors in Germany, the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai Nexo. The sales figures in Europe are clear for the Nexo, in 2021 there were a total of 468 copies. This is due to the entry-level prices and the very thin infrastructure with hydrogen filling stations. The newly sparked discussion about the use of hydrogen will also reignite the hydrogen drive in the premium segment in the next few years.
Hyundai is playing in the global competition in the development of new fuel cell passenger cars. The concept is constantly being further developed and if you take a closer look at the Nexo, it already has the elementary skills of emission-free mobility. With a vehicle length of 4,67 m, the large-format SUV offers the dimensions of a mid-range SUV with enough space for five adults.
For the drive, Hyundai relies on a permanent magnet machine (PSM) as an electric motor with 120 KW. The energy is produced by a fuel cell system with an output of 95 kW. A small battery with a capacity of 1,6 kWh, which can provide 40 KW of power, forms the compensation buffer.
The peak power of the electric motor is 135 kW, it is specified as 120 kW, but the 30-minute power of the motor is only 31,5 kW according to the data sheet. This means that the concept is already being considered more as a cruiser and travel SUV. This will also be confirmed in our test drives.
The button pad in the center console
The display behind the steering wheel has a classic look with two round instruments and a central information display that is configured using the steering wheel buttons. The large multimedia display in the middle contains the system configuration, media overviews and of course the navigation system. The generously proportioned keypad between the front seats is striking. Here you can finally find all driving-relevant operating switches and slides arranged very clearly on a playground of a button pad. Climate settings, seat ventilation and heating and all selection switches for the automatic system can be controlled and adjusted directly from the display without fiddling around in the menu navigation. God save the keys!
Here you can concentrate on the first rides with the raised seating position and the good overview. The start button is located where the ignition key used to be, to the right of the steering wheel. The drive modes are clear with Normal, Eco and Eco+. The choice also changes the look of the round instruments. As soon as you press the D button, the SUV moves in calm waters. With an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just under 10 seconds, you can swim well in moving traffic. This is probably in keeping with the spirit of the times. Deceleration and zero-emission drives will probably be the focus of mobility in the coming years.
As is usual with all new BEVs, there are paddles on the steering wheel for fine adjustment of the levels for recuperation. Fortunately, you are limited to three levels that can be experienced. One-pedal driving is not the order of the day here, but with the levels you can level yourself to the level that best suits you personally.
Expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure
In our tests, we were able to achieve ranges of 600 kilometers in ECO mode in summer. The small number of hydrogen filling stations should be a thing of the past in the next few years. The largest hydrogen filling station operator H2 Mobility in Germany only received an investment of 110 million euros in the spring and is focusing on the massive expansion of the infrastructure. There are currently 96 filling stations (August 2022) in operation nationwide.
The plans of Federal government and the EU are relying on hydrogen as an energy source in the medium term, and it has good prospects, especially in the area of heavy goods traffic. Green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen from the electrolysis of water with the help of regenerative electricity, is to be used. However, considerable investments in the production facilities and the transport routes still have to be made here.
Hyundai remains consistent in expanding its range of vehicles with hydrogen drives. The export of the XCIENT fuel cell truck to Germany has already been announced for next year. The delivery of 27 trucks for the fleet service of seven German companies is planned. This pilot project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digitization and Transport.
With the Nexo, Hyundai has achieved a great success compared to the previous model ix 35, which we also tested. With the large storage volume and the emission-free drive and a practical range of over 600 kilometers, the SUV is definitely in keeping with the times. However, the high starting price of 77.290 euros (August 2023) and the low density of H2 filling stations prevent even greater interest from customers. If these two adjusting screws are adjusted further, this niche will be further expanded.
Test from summer 2022
How do you like the Hyundai Nexo?
- Jeep Avenger Altitude Electric – the flexible outdoor SUV - December 1, 2023
- Ora Funky Cat 400 Pro+ - The Purring Cat - December 1, 2023
- Minus 8 degrees, 15 cm of fresh snow - VW ID.4 Pro in the winter test - November 30th 2023