HYUNDAI has revealed that its new hydrogen-powered SUV will be called Nexo and pack semi-autonomous driving systems.
Introduced at CES – the consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas – it’s the second generation of the firm’s fuel cell technology, which debuted on the ix35 FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) in 2013. The new model will have an estimated range of 500 miles – about 135 miles more than its predecessor.
The SUV is built on a dedicated fuel cell platform rather than a modified version of existing architecture.
Hyundai says the benefits of this are less weight, more cabin space and a better layout for the fuel cell system.
The upgraded fuel cell stack and battery can feed a more powerful motor, which now makes 161bhp, up from 134.
Acceleration is better than before, too – the Nexo goes from 0-60mph in 9.5 seconds, which is three seconds faster than its predecessor.
It’ll also feature Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Hyundai’s brand of semi-autonomous driving aids. The Nexo gets blind spot monitoring, lane assist, remote parking and an advanced cruise control system.
The SUV will be the flagship low-emissions vehicle in the Hyundai range, as the South Korean manufacturer works towards having 18 eco-friendly models on sale by 2025.
Hyundai vice-chairman Yang Woong-chul said: “Hydrogen energy is the key to building a more sustainable society.
Hyundai Motor Company has already taken a lead in hydrogen technology with the introduction of the ix35 Fuel Cell.
“I am so proud to introduce to you our second-generation fuel cell electric vehicle, which is a culmination of our cutting-edge technologies.”
The key hurdle that the Nexo and other hydrogen vehicles, such as the Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai, must overcome, though, is the lack of refuelling infrastructure.
According to electric car charging point finder Zap-Map, there are just 12 hydrogen fuelling stations in the UK.
Last year, Shell became the first branded fuel retailer to sell hydrogen on the forecourt, and it says it is actively assessing expanding provision throughout the world.