If you think buying an electric car is a bit of a gamble, spare a thought for the new Hyundai Nexo — the first hydrogen-powered car to be approved for sale in Australia.

At this stage there’s only one place in Australia where you can refuel a Nexo and that is in Canberra, although Hyundai does have a hydrogen filling station at its Sydney headquarters in Macquarie Park — and if you ask them nicely they might help out.

Hydrogen or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) are a different kind of electric vehicle, one that uses hydrogen gas to generate electricity from a fuel cell to power a car, producing only water vapour in the process.

It’s kind of the holy grail of electric vehicle power generation and regarded by experts as a better, long-term solution to our mobility woes.

Nexo’s arrival comes with the opening of Australia’s first public hydrogen refueling station in Canberra, which will provide the fuel for the first 20 road-registered Nexos as government fleet vehicles.

At the heart of the car is a long-range, zero-emission, 95kW fuel cell-based powertrain that, with the battery, can deliver a sustained 135kW to the motor.

The electric motor itself is able to deliver 120kW of power and 395Nm of torque, with an impressive range of 666km.

Nexo has three high-pressure fuel tanks with a combined capacity of 156 litres.

These high-strength, lightweight advanced carbon composite tanks have been tested to ensure they maintain structural integrity in the most challenging conditions, such as a collision.

Unlike battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fueled vehicles can be refilled in a matter minutes, just like conventional petrol powered cars.

Nexo has been designed from the ground up as a fuel cell electric vehicle and is the product of more than 20 years of research and development.

It follows Hyundai’s first-generation mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle — the ix35 FCEV.

Hyundai CEO, Jun Heo, described Nexo’s arrival as a landmark in Hyundai’s ongoing commitment to green mobility and to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology.

“The hydrogen Nexo SUV is a cornerstone in the Hyundai portfolio, complementing our hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles the Ioniq and Kona Electric,” he said.

“Nexo is also a sign of things to come, as Hyundai continues in its long-term drive towards leadership in eco-friendly vehicles.”

Nexo is available in one, highly equipped grade that showcases Hyundai’s leading edge, eco-focused technology and the latest comfort and convenience features.

It features an advanced air purification system that removes 99.9 per cent of fine, damaging particulates from polluted air in a three-stage process.

Available now by special order for private customers and fleets, it is offered as an all-inclusive package covering service and maintenance.

If you want to know the price, you probably can’t afford it — but we’re told it’s roughly the equivalent of leasing a large SUV.

 

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Riley

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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