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I Drove 900 Miles In A Hydrogen Car: Hyundai NEXO Review

I Drove 900 Miles In A Hydrogen Car: Hyundai NEXO Review


– In some alternate reality, it’s not electric replacing gasoline on the nation’s highways, but hydrogen. (bubbly music) I got a glimpse of that
alternate timeline recently, as I spent five days behind the wheel of Hyundai’s newest fuel cell vehicle. My co-pilot, Joshua
Vergara of JV Tech Tea. My mission, a 900 mile road trip, from San Diego to Sacramento, using nothing but hydrogen. It’s too cold to hold. I’m Mr. Mobile, and this
is the Hyundai Nexo review. (happy music) Day one, after a quick
drive up from San Diego, the trip officially kicks off at Hyundai’s American
headquarters in Los Angeles. I asked for a closer look at the Nexo, so Hyundai takes us under the hood, and then under the car for a crash course on how it all works. The disclosure, while I’m at it, Hyundai provided travel, lodging
and some fuel reimbursement for Josh and me, but in accordance with my
reviews policy, no compensation. Also, Hyundai did not
receive copy approval or see this video before publication. Like I said in my video
on the Toyota Mirai, my favorite fun fact about hydrogen cars is that technically
they’re also electric cars. The propulsion in the Nexo
comes from an electric motor, driving the front wheels,
drawing power from a battery. The difference is that instead
of carrying around a huge 70 to 100 kilowatt hour
power pack, like a Tesla, the Nexo settles for a small
1.5 kilowatt hour battery. It can get away with that, because the Nexo produces
its own electricity. It does this by sucking
air from the atmosphere, there’s an intake behind
the grill up front, separating the oxygen from that air, and compressing and injecting
it into something called a fuel cell stack. There, it’s combined with hydrogen in a chemical reaction that
keeps the battery charged. The assembly is just as quiet
as a typical electric car, so the Nexo has a noise maker to warn pedestrians of its presence. Kinda sounds like a friendly UFO. Back on the road with Josh,
passing the oil pump jacks and ocean liner smoke
stacks of Long Beach, let’s talk about just how
green the hydrogen car is. Just taken here on the street, the Nexo is much cleaner
than your average gas burner. Which leaves behind a bunch of stuff that’s either not healthy for you, or not healthy for the planet, or both. The Nexo’s only exhaust is hot water, which tinkles out through twin tailpipes. In fact, the car actually
leaves the air cleaner than it found it, thanks to the filtration necessary to feed oxygen to the fuel cell. But it’s not 100% emissions free, because of how the
hydrogen fuel is produced. More on that in a bit. (soft electronic music) Settling in, and driving toward our first fueling stop in Santa Barbara, I realize no one’s really
taking notice of us, the way they do when I drive
something more highfalutin, like a Tesla, and that’s because the Nexo keeps a low profile. Only its distinctive
copper metallic paint job, and cascade grille setting it apart. And despite its unusual power plant, living with it for five days
will come to make it feel like driving any well made SUV. The cargo space is ample. The cabin, spacious. I’m a sun starved, winter
wimp this time of year, so I really appreciated
the retractable sunroof. And both Josh and I liked that
we could use Android Auto, instead of the built in NAV system. Navigate to Nava Coffee Post. (laughing) Let’s wake up everybody. – [Navigation System] Sharing
results for Napa Coffee. – [Michael] Oh well, huh, good
enough, alright I’ll take it. And this was my first
exposure to ventilated seats. I’ll let Josh speak to how those feel. – Well this is like walking
in like snowy New York. It’d be like gotta sit down. – Yes,
(laughing) but you’re in a snowsuit, so the moisture doesn’t come through, but you’re sitting on cold snow. – Yeah, that’s it. – That’s exactly what it is, you’re right. The Nexo was rated for 380 miles
on a full load of hydrogen, but that’s only for the Blue trim level. And because we’re driving
the heavier, Limited model, we can only expect about 350 miles, so that’s why we decided to
fill up in Santa Barbara, and this is where hydrogen
cars have the biggest edge over battery electrics. See, even on a super
charger, a Tesla needs 20 to 30 minutes to carry
you another 150 to 200 miles. The Nexo can fill up
its three hydrogen tanks in about five minutes. I’ll take us back to the lift real quick, and you can actually see one of ’em peeking out from the under carriage here. Each of these tanks stores
just under 14 gallons of hydrogen gas, at 10,000 psi. That’s a lot of pressure, and listening to the spooky
sounds of the fueling system, I’d be lying if I said I
didn’t think about all that potential energy, sitting
under my back seat. It is disconcerting to be
near this much pressure. So why did I drive the thing
almost 1000 miles anyway? Well, the Nexo’s hydrogen tanks
are made from carbon fiber that the company says is
about two inches thick. They’ve been crash tested, burn tested. When Toyota tested its tanks, it had to shoot one with
a rifle to penetrate it. And if there is a rupture, the Nexo’s computer system
is designed to immediately seal off the fuel lines. Look, I’m not trying to say
hydrogen isn’t dangerous, it’s very easy to ignite,
and as this article says, any fuel is dangerous if mishandled. But I am saying is that I’m convinced Hyundai respects that risk,
and handles hydrogen properly. I’ll link to that article
in the description. Please subscribe while you’re there, if you’re enjoying this video so far. (electronic music) Heading north from Santa Barbara, we try and stick close to the coast, resisting the urge to have a
merlot at the Hitching Post, – I am not drinking any (beep) merlot. – [Michael] And detouring through the Denmark inspired streets of Solvang. And it’s here that we realize
our minor miscalculation. See, north of here the
fuel stations thin out. There are only, after all,
36 of them across California. So Josh and I have to recalculate. We have to backtrack by a half
an hour to top off our fuel, laying in a new inland
course for San Jose. And we do make it there, with about 30 miles left in the tanks, but we couldn’t take
the route we wanted to, and those last few miles, I
was getting a little nervous. After all, you can’t just
call AAA and ask for a gas can when your hydrogen runs out. The bright side, more fueling
stations are planned for 2019, and that the Nexo is delivering
on its range promises, and accurately forecasting
between fill ups. The hills of our next stops,
San Francisco and Sausalito, help us get even more mileage, because we can use regenerative braking to convert some of our downhill
inertia to electricity. Which goes back into the battery. It’s not as pronounced as on a Tesla, or Chevy Volt, you can’t one pedal drive, but it helps us pad out
our range estimates, and save on fuel costs. More on that later too. The weather takes a turn for the worse on the northbound drive though, so we’re forced to cancel our planned excursion to Lake Tahoe. Instead we swing through Sacramento, and camp out at a coffee shop, where Josh takes some moody, vloggy video. Re-caffeinated, and re-energized
by a trip to Atlas Obscura, Josh and I plot a course for
a nerdy point of interest, and since that takes us back
inside the cabin for awhile, I can tell you something else. The Nexo is a completely comfortable ride. These seats still feel
great, even after days, and there’s plenty of room to spread out. Three can fit in the back,
and there’s a proper outlet for laptops or other gear too power hungry for the USB ports up front. And I’m happy to report
that those do kick out more current than most cars. Also up front, a Qi wireless charging pad, compatible with most modern phones. And above it, more buttons
than an airliner cockpit. I’m torn on these, I love buttons in a car because there’s nothing less
tactile than a touch screen while you’re driving, but there are just so
many keys on this thing. And with the exception
of the big selector knob, they’re all too smooth to feel out while keeping your eyes on the road. A much better feature is
this blind spot monitor that kicks on when you
signal a lane change. No more craning your neck
to check over your shoulder. You just flit your eyes
down to the cluster. Also, the collision avoidance system will warn you if you’re about
to back out of a parking spot into oncoming traffic. That is cool. And I love the bird’s eye view camera, when squeezing into a tight parking space. And there is an automated
parking system too, but we never ran into a parking situation we couldn’t handle ourselves. When talking about handling, the Nexo is predictable at every turn. From the zero to 60 in 10 seconds, to the responsive but not
overly tight steering, there are no surprises here. It’s not built to be fun to drive. It’s built for comfort, cargo capacity, and its particular breed of fuel economy. And it achieves all of those, while maintaining a pretty
quiet cabin to boot. Oh by the way, we’re finally at the site Josh and I detoured to see, and if you used a windows computer from the years 2001 to hmm, 2012 or so, this might look familiar. (Computer chiming) (soft techno music) On the last night of our
trip, Josh and I take the Nexo through Napa, where the
restaurants have animal heads, and the coffee shops have cellists. (cello music) this is also around the
time of our final fill up on our own dime this time, because we’ve finally blown through all of our Hyundai hydrogen bucks. You’ve probably noticed
how quickly the pump gages shot up on our refills. Each time we took out a load of fuel, it cost north of 80 bucks. And in addition to the expense, the way that hydrogen is
produced effects how green you can pat yourself
on the back for being. While it is possible to make hydrogen by splitting water with electricity, right now, 96% of the
world’s hydrogen fuel is made my reforming methane,
and that produces CO2 as a waste product. As we button up the car after
900 hydrogen fueled miles, it’s time to talk pricing. The Nexo is priced between
$58,000 and $63,000, depending on trim. While lease terms weren’t
finalized at press time, Hyundai tells us some free
fuel will be included. I had a fantastic week in the Nexo. It’s incredibly comfortable,
it’s got a ton of features that make driving it a pleasure, and it’s much more spacious
than the Toyota Mirai, which costs about the same. If I were buying a
hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, which assumes I’d be moving to California, since that’s the only
state you can use one, the Nexo is absolutely
the one I would go with. But I don’t think I’d be
buying a hydrogen car. Yes, you can refill one
of these much faster than you can charge an electric one, but you can drive a battery electric car in all 50 states. You can also start every
day in an electric car with a full battery, since
you can charge it at home. And you can find places to fill it up a lot more easily than
you can a hydrogen car. And that’s a reality that
I think is gonna persist into the foreseeable future. The Hyundai Nexo is the best
fuel cell vehicle I’ve driven. But hydrogen has a long way to go to convince me that it’s
the future of driving. Thanks for coming with
us on this ride folks, and don’t forget Josh
Vergara has his own take on our five day hydrogen journey. Check it out right here, subscribe to his channel over there, and until next time, thanks for watching, and stay mobile, my friends.

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100 thoughts on “I Drove 900 Miles In A Hydrogen Car: Hyundai NEXO Review

  1. Hey folks! For a more vloggy, chill, and fun take on this road trip, don't miss Josh's video! https://youtu.be/8cNhROauWrM

  2. 4:55 Well, tell it to the guys in Norway where the Hydrogen Re-Fueling Station blew up a couple weeks ago. Another incident like that ANYWHERE in the world and Hydrogen Powered Vehicles are even "Deader" than they are already.

  3. Someone in the 1800 probably did the same video as you at 2 frames per second. Instead of hydrogen, actual petrol.

  4. Hydrogen isn't a CO free power source. It is just a very inefficient power storage method. Essentially a really really bad battery, where a bunch of equipment is required to crack water, where the O2 is blown into the atmosphere and the H is captured. It is then super cooled and compressed, massive waste of energy. You store it in a leaky tank in the ground, transfer to a leaky tank in your car …. So in reality it is a ruse by oil companies to keep selling you oil and gas while they release the CO2 into the atmosphere. F oil.

  5. Really super luxury car that runs on horrible planet killing fuel that costs a fortune. Did we mention the car is really cool and has vented seats.

  6. They forgot to mention that storing hydrogen at a hydrogen station is highly inefficient and a nightmare

  7. Why is it not possible to have a large version like this to power yr home so that you are not at the mercy of the utility companies surely they have made enough money out of the public??

  8. Again why can't there be a way of making the hydrogen as you go by using water straight from a tank on board that way there is no safety issues

  9. So not clean. 4 times more expensive than electricity. More dangerous. You can’t charge at home or charge for free if you have solar at home. Sounds like big oil is somewhere behind hydrogen.

  10. OMG, this is complete bull! Hydrogen, hear this, Hydrogen will NEVER be close to as cost effective as electric! The cost to refine and compress hydrogen gas will ALWAYS make it more costly than gas or electric. This is all a game from the auto industry to keep people buying something. With electric and a half a dozen solar panels your driving around for free! Certainly they want to squash that!

  11. Simple really: Who wants to pay 40% more than an equivalent range EV and spend at least 10 times more for fuel than straight electricity in a battery electric? Crickets. Which are two reasons (of many) why hydrogen vehicles are doomed.

  12. The new micro thorium reactors have been patented, they will run for 30 years, and power the on-site hydrogen converter

  13. I sincerely hope hydrogen gas vehicles take off here in the US. Currently there are 39 Hydrogen gas stations in the US. So I see why you didn't take a cross country trip to New York.

  14. If they put more hydrogen stations to fill up the cost to fill them will go down. If they get it cheaper to fill then gas, it will be the future. Nobody cares about safety if the cost is low enough

  15. '
    oh no…
    stop watch this video at 015…
    car is a so ugly design…
    900 miles are not really perfect 900 miles…
    depend on freeway / highway / street condition plus weather plus degree level ground plus foot push pedal

  16. I want to understand better……so the production of hydrogen produces CO2 as a manufacturing byproduct? Ok, so that’s plant food, which plants consume and convert to oxygen. How is this a problem? Wouldn’t that actually be a net plus for the environment?

  17. The thing most people don't get this car IS an electric vehicle. There are no cars with hydrogen-fuelled combustion engines whatsoever, and there won't be. They're all electric. Only the way power is stored is different, hydrogen vs. electric battery.

  18. I can see this work on some markets, this is why those companies are developing hydrogen cell cars in the first place. Most of the world, however, will go pure electric.

  19. Funny, when I supercharge my Tesla model 3 I don't stand there for 5 minutes staring at the pump. I simply get out of the car, plug it in, takes 2 seconds and then I walk away and do something else. When I'm done I come back I unplugged and I drive away. No standing there staring at a pump, it seems like you have to wait longer to fuel with hydrogen.

  20. Here's what I did: I bought a 1997 Lexus LS 400 for $3500 with 97,000 miles 4 years ago. 42,000 miles later, I've replaced the tires and a fuel pump for about $1000 total along with 2000 gallons of gas for about $6000 (burns premium only). So, for $10,500 all in (plus insurance of $600/year), I've driven a luxury car with great confidence it will continue for many more years with little trouble or expense. Why would I spend $60,000 on a damned hydrogen car or Tesla?

  21. 10 seconds to 60?! In a hybrid hydrogen electric car? That's terrible performance numbers, that is simply not enough torque or power to change speed rapidly in an encroaching situation such a as highway/motorway merging, overtaking manoeuvres or emergency situations. It needs to be much closer to 8.5 seconds minimum.

  22. Tesla got it right with using new designs that stand out. If these vehicles look just like any other vehicles it'll be hard to turn heads and get adoption.

  23. Not all Hydrogen production from methane creates c02. The All Australian Hazer process is one way to make Hydrogen from Methane with no co2, Hydrogen and high quality sythetic graphite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG-WmaIgSOQ&t=5s

  24. I would buy this. If I had the money and if hydrogen was as cheap as gas. Seems cool. Hydrogen including electric cars will be the future of the automotive industry. (In many years of course).

  25. i would be afraid on salted roads and exposed tanks these cars are not made to last 10 and 20 years of current cars. they will cost more to run in the long haul.. maintenance fees will be a killer. still produces c02.

  26. Hydrogen cars have been five years away for the last 20 years. I literally remember talking about them in 1999. "Oh, they're the future." Perhaps. Perhaps the 22nd Century future.

  27. So high fuel cost, not as green as you think, localized to califonia only, and limited fueling stations.

    I'd give it a 5/10
    Amazing idea, but overall too pricey for the amount of glaring shortcomings.

  28. Hydrogen is a neat "idea" but it is extremely inefficient to produce and use in a vehicle. Electric is going to win the war. Im not opposed to looking at new ideas like hydrogen, but anyone who knows anything about physics and chemistry should be able to see quite easily that hydrogen just does not pencil out for use as a automotive fuel source. Electric or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) are much better options.

  29. Sounds like a great car. The arguments against hydrogen being taken up are the same as those that were leveled about electric cars being taken up, i.e. lack of refilling points but that can be easily changed as demand increases. Hydrogen refuels such more quickly than electric which is great when you are on the highway. There is nothing to stop having a small battery added to the vehicle to trickle charge overnight. The biggest downside to both hydrogen and electric is the source of the fuel, if it is from a high greenhouse gas method of production. When the source is fully renewable it will be a chicken dinner.

  30. Normal electric cars also get energy from poluent sources and their batteries are bigger and more poluent also. So not sure how the hydrogen is a con in that regard.

  31. EV is not sustainable. Imagine a typical city 4 pumps fueling station with 5 minutes per fillup. That 24 cars per 30 minutes. Now imagine 24 EV cars sitting duck in a parking lot 30min fast charging. There is NO such space in stations; most stations would need relocation! And at even just 50kW per socket, that station would have to provide 1.2 MW!!! That is not gonna happen anytime soon. But hydrogen can.
    We know the nuclear reactors are the future already, and electricity will be available to produce hydrogen by electrolysis (or better techniques possibly).

  32. Would a tank of hydrogen be any more dangerous than 10 gallons of highly flammable petrol/gasoline just behind you?

  33. A lot of blabla but no information , how much the consumption is how many dollar for 100 mile's and so on , info that's where people looking for not showing your face having fun

  34. I wonder if the ceramic "BlueGen" gas-to-electricity generators is a cheaper alternative to expensive platinum fuel cell.

  35. I hear they're coming out with a car that runs on Fairy Dust, another thing you can only get in certain parts of California.

  36. as usual green isn't always green. Guess it comes down to how destructive your green is when everything is considered.

  37. Yes Hydrogen can be made from Methane, and yes it does also produce Carbon Dioxide, but the production plants that I have been involved with capture the Carbon Dioxide, and sell it to the drinks industry. The Carbon Dioxide is a co-product, not a waste, but yes it will eventually be released to the atmosphere as bubbles from our beer and other fizzy drinks.

  38. Hydrogen fuel cells or battery? it all goes by who makes the most innovation going forward. both have pusses and minuses. my money is on fuel cells to take the lead… but both exist like diesel and regular gas

  39. All of this tech could've happened back in the 90s…

    The amount of wars, regime changes and American lives lost would've been avoided if needed society off of crude.

  40. Looks like a great car, but the high fuel price, rare fueling stations, and expensive price tag are pretty big issues. Buying an electric car like a Tesla may be better since charging stations are extremely common and fuel is cheap, not to mention the much lower price for the vehicle.

  41. So I watched this whole video to figure out the $/mile fuel cost. As best as I can gather it was over $80 for less than 350 miles. Why should you make it easy and just tell me? So that comes out to 23 cents/mile. This could be a nickel higher, but I don't have accurate numbers. An SUV getting 22 mpg putting in $3.50 a gallon gas gets 16 cents/mile. A Tesla is more like 4 or 5 cents a mile. People have solar arrays on their roofs, not hydrogen generating units.

  42. Hydrogen not EV is the future unless electric cars can be charged as quickly and conveniently as fossil fuel vehicles. The infrastructure already exists in the abundance of gas stations. A little plumbing and they will be delivering H to customers. No wiring 440 volt three phase to every fuel source. Making electricity these days also consumes CH4 and releases CO, CO2 and some other traces.

  43. next to the low profile car i can't wait to see low price hydrogene vehicle…other than that – a bird view when parking?how does it look under bright sun?

  44. only 36 hydrogen refuel stations in California…..THERE ARE ONLY 42 HYDROGEN REFUEL STATIONS IN ALL 50 UNITED STATES AND CANADA COMBINED!!!!! at least a Tesla can travel from sea to shining sea —AND THROUGH CANADA— no problem. anyways, best of luck to Toyota and Hyundai with hydrogen. and don’t forget about Norway!

  45. I don´t understand the nead for hydrogen cars. first well they will always be exepensive to drive. hydrogen will never be a cheap energy carire, the laws of termodynamik is in its way . its pure and simpel Logic. the fillup stasions will never be cheap to make. in comparason to pure EV we all nead a brake on a long road trip the battery ev makes that, a simpel question off nessesty.

    EV´s are dirt cheap to drive, hydrogen is DAM expensive. and will never be diffentent battery teknology will always improve we cant improve the way we make hydrogen, ( the law of termodynamics) _

    Hydrogen can be a fine energy buffer, real good for hevy transport. Tucks and so on. but for personal transport, well it will never replace batterys the ev won the race before it began.

  46. Solar panel is getting cheaper nowadays I'd pick any vehicle that I can charge at home.. My daily commute is around 50km/31 miles. Sometimes once a week 60 miles.

    I plan to install 2000 WP solar panel.. I don't know if that will sufficient for that length of commute.

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