Hyundai has revealed the Nexo – its latest hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) – at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It has a range of 500 miles and 20% more power than the ix35 Fuel Cell.
The Nexo's range is 135 miles greater than its predecessor's, thanks to a larger battery. The capacity of the fuel cell has shrunk compared with the ix35's, at 95kW to its forebear's 100kW. Power increases from 124kW to 135kW, and the motor's power rises from 132bhp to 159bhp. Torque is also up by around a third, at 291lb ft to the ix35's 221lb ft - speeding up acceleration with the help of the car's lighter weight from 12.5sec to 9.5sec to 60mph.
Rather than being a variant on an existing member of the Hyundai line-up, the Nexo is a model in its own right and built on a dedicated platform. It will serve as the technological flagship of the brand's ever-growing range of electrified cars, with 18 due for launch by 2025.
Hyundai claims that the powertrain is as durable as internal combustion engine-powered cars, and can be refuelled in as little as five minutes, compared with the several hours of the latest electric vehicles on the market. Despite electric motors being remarkably refined, Hyundai claims to have further improved this for the Nexo - all moving parts are under the bonnet. It's grown in almost every dimension compared with the ix35 too - at 4671mm, it's 262mm longer; it's 38mm wider at 1859mm; but it's 25mm less tall at 1630mm. Interior space is due to grow, as the wheelbase has stretched by 150mm.
The Nexo will be available in select markets from early 2018, although a Hyundai spokesman said that UK cars may not arrive until the end of the year.
It will also be Hyundai's first test of fully autonomous systems because the car's powertrain is ideal for coping with the high energy demand of autonomous systems – their data handling, communication and sensors – and it has a long range.
These systems include a next-generation Blind Spot Monitor, which demonstrates to the driver their position in relation to other road users, and Lane Following Assist (LFA) and Highway Driving Assist. The former can steer, accelerate and brake the car at speeds from standstill to 90mph. The latter uses map data and builds on LFA to control the car's speed according to the the speed limit of the road, as well as using sensors to detect environmental conditions. The Nexo is also fitted with a remote parking system, enabling the car to park itself with or without a driver aboard.
The model's unveiling comes shortly after Hyundai’s announcement that its first fully autonomous car will arrive in 2021, as a result of the brand's partnership with self-driving technology company Aurora.
Aurora will assist Hyundai in bringing the two brands' technologies to market as quickly and safely as possible, with Level 4 autonomy targeted. Work on the back-end development of the technologies has already begun.
At last year's CES, Hyundai showcased the Ioniq Autonomous, the first tangible product in its push for driverless motoring.
The design of the car draws heavily from the FE Fuel Cell Concept shown at the Geneva motor show last year. It's likely to closely match the price of the ix35 Fuel Cell, which started at £53,105 (Rs 40 lakh).