Hyundai’s Nexo has established a new world record for the longest distance travelled by a hydrogen-powered vehicle.

The record was set with French balloonist and president of the Solar Impulse Foundation, Bertrand Piccard, piloting the car.

Piccard left the FaHyence hydrogen station in Sarreguemines on Monday, November 25, arriving the next day at the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in Le Bourget – after having travelled a distance of 778km.

The location for the record attempt was selected because of the Grand Est Region’s commitment to responsible mobility.

Piccard achieved notoriety for making the first round-the-world trip in a balloon with Breitling Orbiter in 1999 as well as the first round-the-world trip in a solar plane with Solar Impulse in 2016.

Driving the hydrogen-powered Nexo was an opportunity for the adventurer and his guests (he had passengers) to discover a new generation of car, to share experiences in terms of environmental protection and to compare points of view on sustainable development and mobility.

His passengers included:

  • Jean Rottner, President of the Grand Est Region (French)
  • Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
  • Michel Delpon, MP for the Dordogne and President of the Hydrogen Study Group at National Assembly (French)
  • Benoît Potier, CEO of Air Liquide (French)
  • Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance (French)
  • Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition (French)
  • S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco

Piccard is committed to the planet through the challenge of 1000 Efficient and Profitable Solutions to Protect the Environment, which he initiated with the Solar Impulse Foundation.

He has been an ambassador for Hyundai Motor France since 2017.

Piccard and Hyundai organised a major conference in Paris in September 2018, which, for the first time brought together all players in the hydrogen sector in France.

“With this adventure, we have proven that with clean technologies, we no longer need revolutionary experimental prototypes to break records. Everyone can now do it with standard zero-emission vehicles,” he said.

“A new era in performance is beginning, for the benefit of environmental protection.”


  • Number of kilometers traveled: 778km
  • Remaining range displayed on the counter: 49km
  • Air purification: 404.6 kL, the volume of air that 23 adults breathe every day
  • CO2 reduction: 111.2 kg, the amount of gas emitted by vehicles of the same category over 778km
Bertrand Piccard, and the record-breaking Hyundai Nexo.

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Headshot Riley 96x96 - Hydrogen-powered car leap frogs record


Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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