Hydrogen fuel cell tech still matters.
The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Hyundai Nexo was first shown to the public in early 2018 but unless you're a resident of California, it's not for sale elsewhere in the US. That's a shame because the Nexo is a mid-size premium crossover built on its own unique platform (it's around the size of a Hyundai Tucson) boasting an EPA rated range of up to 380 miles on a full charge. The other downside is its $60,000 or so price tag. Advanced fuel cell tech isn't cheap.
Still, the South Korean automaker has no plans to abandon the FCEV segment in the US nor anywhere else. It remains a worthwhile investment as the auto industry continues to move away from pure combustion engine towards electrification. Battery electrics might eventually rule, but FCEVs aren't out of the picture yet.
That being said, Top Electric SUV has learned Hyundai is currently planning a significant update for the Nexo that will see its range expand to 500 miles. To compare, the recently revealed Tesla Model S Long Range Plus has an EPA range of 402 miles. The $140,000 Model S Plaid has a claimed range of at least 520 miles but the Nexo costs an awful lot less.
This new Nexo information originally came about when South Korea's president was taking a tour of a Hyundai plant in the country and was asking about the Nexo's range. Hyundai Chairman Euisun Chung was with him and felt it necessary to answer the president's question with this response: "I plan to increase its [Nexo's] range to 497 miles in the future." Impressive.
So why, exactly, did the South Korean president have such a specific interest in the Nexo? It's not like American politicians outside of California are even aware of its existence. The answer is because Hyundai has sold more than 10,000 Nexos since it went on sale there in March 2018. Extending the vehicle's range from 380 miles to about 500 miles makes a big statement about the company's tech capabilities and the country's commitment to zero emissions. The report claims the updated Hyundai Nexo is due to arrive sometime in 2021.
And if you think a 500-mile Nexo is cool, bear in mind the just revealed Toyota Mirai FCEV can reportedly travel up to 528 miles on a single charge.