Hyundai Nexo Sets Hydrogen Fuel Cell Distance Record

by Coleman Molnar, contributor, Driving,

Hyundai’s Nexo SUV recently was driven 484 miles (779 km) across France, setting a new world record for the longest distance traveled in a hydrogen-powered vehicle on a single tank. Within the category of zero-emissions options, the hydrogen fuel cell is constantly being eclipsed by electric power. But Hyundai thinks it’s worth some attention.

The South Korean company chose Bertrand Piccard—Swiss psychiatrist, balloonist and president of the environmental foundation Solar Impulse—to take the wheel of the Nexo. As a champion of zero-emissions travel, Piccard has already circumnavigated the globe in a hot air balloon and a solar-powered plane.

“With this adventure, we have proven that with clean technologies, we no longer need revolutionary experimental prototypes to break records,” Piccard said. “Everyone can now do it with standard zero-emission vehicles. A new era in performance is beginning, for the benefit of environmental protection.”

The drive took Piccard, joined by some famous passengers including government officials and European royalty like H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, along a tour of northeastern France, allegedly purifying about as much air as 23 adults breathe in a day and keeping the approximately 111.2 kg of carbon dioxide a gas-powered vehicle would have emitted over that distance out of the atmosphere.

The Hyundai Nexo also made news earlier this year for its stellar performance in the IIHS crash tests, where it not only refrained from erupting into a fiery ball, but also scored a Top Safety Pick+ award on top of multiple “good” and “acceptable” ratings for its safety setups.