Hyundai claimed the title of “world’s best driving range” for any non-gasoline burning car.
2018 is turning out to be a big year for Hyundai. They plan to introduce the all-electric version of the Kona to go along with their IONIQ plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle, and plans to continue bringing electric car models into the future. But their latest claim comes not from an electric vehicle at all, but one powered by a fuel source most had considered to be all but dead: hydrogen fuel cells.
The Hyundai NEXO is the non-gas-powered SUV to replace the hydrogen-powered Tucson, and claims to have the world’s best driving range for anything that doesn’t drink gas. With a range of 378 miles (or 609 kilometers), the NEXO can certainly keep trucking for some time, but electric cars are catching up. The upcoming electric Kona will come close to breaking the 300-mile barrier, and Tesla assures that future versions of the Model 3 and Roadster will both break 300 miles on a single charge.
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But back to the NEXO. The SUV is powered by a 160 hp electric motor along with three hydrogen fuel tanks to keep that motor humming. For a nearly 3000 lb compact SUV, that’s not a lot of horses, which explains the 9.2 second 0-60 time. Top speed is 111 mph, which also won’t take home any awards.
But this is car all about efficiency and range, not performance. If you want a powerful SUV, by a Mercedes G63. If you want to actually get someplace without spending your food budget on gas, get a NEXO.
Actually, don’t. The reason we haven’t seen much adoption of the hydrogen-powered car is the lack of refueling infrastructure. Most of the hydrogen gas stations in America are found in Southern California with very few found elsewhere. As a consequence, less than 7000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles were sold in 2017 (although that was a double-digit increase from all of 2013 to 2016 combined).
But if this whole electric car thing falls through, it’s good to know there’s a backup plan in place for when oil runs out.