CES LIVE: Hyundai reveals Nexo flagship fuel-cell crossover

CES LIVE: Hyundai reveals Nexo flagship fuel-cell crossover

by Justin King

The second-gen model appears similar to the Tucson FCV but is built on a dedicated platform architecture optimized for a hydrogen powertrain.

Hyundai has revealed the Nexo, its second-generation fuel-cell vehicle. The crossover made its American debut in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Confident that hydrogen is a viable alternative to gasoline and pure battery-powered electric vehicles, the automaker developed a dedicated platform architecture. The Nexo succeeds the Tucson FCV, an adaptation of the internal-combustion crossover.

The new platform benefits from lighter weight, more cabin space, a trunk-mounted battery and improved layout for the fuel cell system components. Range has jumped to 370 miles -- 105 more than the Tucson FCV. Power and torque have also increased, improving the first-generation's zero-to-60 mph benchmark by 20 percent to 9.5 seconds.

Highlighting a previously understated issue with FCVs in cold climates, Hyundai says the Nexo can be started in as little as 30 seconds following overnight temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Nexo will undoubtedly be met with skepticism as battery-powered EVs gain momentum. Less than three dozen hydrogen refueling stations can be found across the entire state of California. There appears to be little interest in building a national network. EVs, meanwhile, take longer to charge but can be plugged in at home overnight or at thousands of sites spread across all 50 states.

Hyundai plans to use fuel-cell powertrains in sedans, trucks and buses, though the company did not elaborate with further details at its CES press conference.

Live images by Ronan Glon.