Most carmakers seem to agree all-electric vehicles are the future but some are keeping their options open and develop both pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Hyundai is one of those companies. The Korean automaker builds both an all-electric vehicle, the Kona EV, and a fuel cell car, the Nexo. The latter offers a range of about 370 miles (595 km) and the advantage of not having to wait more than 5 minutes on average for a refuel.
Assuming hydrogen stations will become at least as widespread as charging stations, that’s a big advantage over EVs, since even the most rapid charging stations take about 30 minutes to charge the batteries to 80 percent capacity.
To find out how convenient the Hyundai Nexo is to use today, vloggers Mr. Mobile (Michael Fisher) and Joshua Vergara drove the hydrogen-powered crossover for 900 miles (1,450 km) across California. Their road trip from San Diego to Sacramento took five days, which is a bit longer than usual.
The reason for that was the fact that hydrogen stations are not evenly distributed across California. There are only 36 of them and they’re concentrated in densely populated areas. So the reviewers had to take detours to reach some of those stations, thus driving for longer than they should have.
As if that wasn’t a big enough inconvenient, hydrogen fuel is quite expensive. The cost of refueling the Nexo averages $80 or more. Factor in the vehicle’s base price of just under $60,000 and one quickly realizes owning and running a fuel cell car does not come cheap.
On the bright side, the reviewers found the Nexo the best hydrogen fuel cell model so far, besting the Toyota Mirai. It’s comfortable, spacious, as silent as a battery-powered EV and full of features. It’s just that the world isn’t ready for it yet.