As manufacturers seek to use vehicles that can satisfy no emission requirements in states like California, many of them are depending on battery electric vehicles for compliance. Hyundai is no various in that it presented its household of Ioniq compact hatchbacks that offer hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure EV variants. But it is also pursuing fuel cell technology and the 2019 Hyundai Nexo Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) showcases how far that technology has been available in making hydrogen power a viable alternative in the ZEV race.
Slated to go on sale during the second half of the year in California only, the Nexo replaces the Hyundai Tucson fuel cell vehicle that formerly was rented to consumers on a limited basis in the state. As a second-generation effort, the Nexo represents a significant step forward on a number of fronts including performance, variety, style and its usage as a platform for Hyundai’s autonomous vehicle technology efforts. The only stumbling block to wider circulation of this vehicle nationally is the lack of hydrogen fueling facilities, something that the company views as being addressed over time.
Like the FCEV Tucson, the 2019 Nexo is basically a compact crossover SUV with 2-row seating for five, a vehicle type that represents a healthy and growing section of the market. However, unlike the Tucson, Nexo has a devoted platform and its own styling. Riding on a 109.8-inch wheelbase, the Nexo steps 183.8 inches in general up almost 6 inches in wheelbase and over 10 inches in length over the Tucson. In addition to a roomier plan, the exterior design is clean and modern with a distinct take on Hyundai’s brand-new cascading grille signature. The top of the front fascia is defined by LED running lights, while the primary headlamp clusters are positioned on either side of the grille. The streamlined style is even more improved by flush exterior door deals with and aero-styled alloy wheels.
Inside, the high end interior has a flat, high console with simple to reach buttons and controls for the HVAC and audio system, while two screens determining a combined 12.3 inches are integrated into the dash design. The right screen in the dash center deals with infotainment and navigation responsibilities, while the left one shows a digital instrument cluster and can likewise reveal a camera view of the vehicle’s right or left rear blind area when the turn signal is activated.
The Nexo includes a brand-new powertrain that combines a 95-kW fuel cell stack with a 40-kW battery for a combined output of 135 kW or about 180 horse power. The electric motor driving the front wheels is ranked at 160 horsepower and supplies 290 lb-ft of torque. Hydrogen compressed to 10,000 psi is fed to the fuel cell to develop the electricity to run the motor and shop extra power in the battery. The Nexo can speed up to 62 miles per hour in 9.2 seconds, a major improvement over the hydrogen-fueled Tucson’s 12.4 seconds. In addition to that performance, Hyundai says the Nexo can take a trip about 370 miles between hydrogen refueling and that the 52.2-liter tank system can be complemented in about five minutes.
The drivability is what you anticipate from an electric. Power shipment is immediate, smooth and quiet. Focus on sound insulation pays huge dividends in the Nexo. Among the significant sounds from fuel cell vehicles are compressors and cooling fans, nevertheless, Hyundai has for one of the most part damped these noises out. At speed, you hear a wisp of wind noise from the outdoors rearview mirrors and a small hum from tire noise.
The EV nature of the Nexo shines on initial throttle tip in and in mid-range passing maneuvers where the power comes on rapidly and effortlessly. Most of our driving was on freeways, so there is bit we could determine on the vehicles total handling, however, the ride is comfy and well-damped and the underfloor storage of the 3 gas cylinders and low mounting of the electrical motor on the front axle with the fuel cell on the top translates to a low center of mass and well-planted feel. The electric boost to the power steering gives it a light touch, though it doesn’t interact a sharp on-center feel.
The 2019 Hyundai Nexo is not just being promoted for its large suite of chauffeur helps, it is also being utilized as a platform for the Korean auto maker’s foray into self-governing driving. On the chauffeur help front, the Nexo boasts Highway Driving Assist (HDA) and Lane Following Assist (LFA), the former handling adaptive cruise control functions and the latter, active guiding to keep the vehicle centered on lane. Hyundai thinks the mix of the two lowers motorist tension by having the ability to keep lane discipline and vehicle range with minimal chauffeur input.
The Nexo is also equipped with Hyundai SmartSense, that includes forward accident warning, forward collision-avoidance help with pedestrian detection, lane keep help, automatic high beams, driver attention caution and blind-spot and cross-traffic informs. Hyundai also uses a remote parking assist feature that can be utilized to automatically park in parallel and perpendicular areas and in some markets, will consist of a remote feature where the vehicle will park itself and return when summoned.
Hyundai has likewise geared up 3 Nexo models with Level 4 autonomous drive technology, which needs no chauffeur intervention. These vehicles also keep their steering wheels and pedals and can be driven traditionally. These self-governing Nexo models were utilized in a demonstration run throughout the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang where they literally drove themselves nearly 120 miles from Seoul to the venue.
While the 2019 Hyundai Nexo models offered in the California market this year will not have autonomous capability, all the other features of the vehicle including the HDA and LFA systems will be offered on the vehicle. Rates for the Nexo will be announced more detailed to its on-sale date.
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