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Hyundai Wants America To Try This New Powertrain

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Who says hybrids and EVs are the only green powertrains?

It's been a little over a year since Hyundai revealed the Nexo at CES. Now it's delivered the first example of the new fuel-cell crossover in the United States, and it's apparently gone to a good home.

Late last week, the Korean automaker handed over the first new Hyundai Nexo to one Todd Hochrad, a retired chemist living in Ventura, California, just outside of Los Angeles. Hochrad has been driving alternative-energy vehicles for over 15 years, but Hyundai boasts that the Nexo will deliver five times the driving range of his first EV.

The replacement for the Tucson FCV, the Nexo is billed as "the only pass-produced fuel cell SUV for the U.S. market," presenting a more accommodating and versatile alternative to the likes of the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity FCV.

It combines an electric motor good for 161 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque with three hydrogen fuel tanks that give it 156 liters and 14 pounds of capacity for a 380-mile range. So while California has more hydrogen fueling stations than just about anywhere in the world, Hochrad could drive from his home all the way to San Francisco without needing to tank up along the way.

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Hyundai is offering the Nexo to lease at $399 (in Blue spec) or $449 (for the Limited model) per month on a three-year contract, or the purchase for $58,300. That's before applicable tax credits that can top $5,000 in California, and it comes with hydrogen-fuel vouchers good for up to $13,000.

At up to 380 miles, the Nexo Blue has 115 miles more range than the old Tucson FCV, and can be tanked up in as little as five minutes. Its environmental credentials are further boosted by the use of soybean-based paint, bamboo-based upholstery, and sugarcane-based plastics.