Hyundai's fuel cell-based Nexo SUV revealed at CES

CES 2018 Hyundai Nexo Fuel Cell Electric SUV Revealed

The Nexo can travel up to 370 miles, compared to the Tucson with its 265-mile range, and can be fully refueled in five minutes - try that with an electric auto.

Aurora CEO Chris Urmson and officials pose for photo session of Nexo FCEV at Consumer Electronics Show 2018. The powertrain is also new.

Hyundai is also using the Nexo to launch some of their new driver assistance technologies. But word is Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-koo wanted it and what Chung Mong-koo wants, he gets.

Unlike its predecessor, the Nexo is built on a dedicated vehicle architecture that brings benefits such as a lighter weight, improved power-to-weight ratio, as well as more cabin space thanks to the relocation of the battery to the trunk. Well, design aside, it is good to see Hyundai taking the initiative to develop more FCEVs for the future, especially when Japanese brands have shown more commitment towards the technology.

The SUV will be the flagship low-emissions vehicle in the Hyundai range, as the South Korean manufacturer works towards having 18 eco-friendly models on sale by 2025.

By the numbers, Hyundai says the new fuel-cell and battery system is rated at a total of 135 kilowatts, up from 124 in the Tucson. Electric charging stations have begun to proliferate around the United States, but hydrogen refueling stations are, for now, rare. And the bigger electric motor allowed by the new system puts out 120 kW and 291 pounds-feet of torque, up from 100 and 221, respectively. It can also start at temperatures below minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit, which the Tucson fuel cell couldn't do. While that 0-60 time is down to 9.5 seconds and well off that of the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell's, it's at least in the ballpark of something like a Toyota Prius. And NEXO also debuts Hyundai's Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) which enables the thing to autonomously park or retrieve itself from a parking space with or without a driver in the auto.

CES 2018 Hyundai Nexo Fuel Cell Electric SUV Revealed
Hyundai's fuel cell-based Nexo SUV revealed at CES

The new crossover-utility vehicle also boasts Remote Smart Parking Assist that lets Nexo autonomously park or retrieve itself from a garage or parking space with or without a driver in the auto.

The Nexo will be available globally in 2018 in "select markets" that have hydrogen available to power the fuel cell.

Hyundai vice-chairman Yang Woong-chul said: "Hydrogen energy is the key to building a more sustainable society". In that case, it's a smart investment.

"We lose money on every eco vehicle we sell", he said during a roundtable at CES.

Unless his boss, Mong-koo, is right about hydrogen being the future. Check back with us in 10 or 15 years and we'll have an answer to that.

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