Hyundai Nexo

The NEXO will be sold only in California, the only market sufficiently infrastructured to keep the NEXO fueled with hydrogen.

While Hyundai's last fuel-cell vehicle was based on the Tucson, Hyundai decided to give such model its own platform, with its own unique styling and interior. The NEXO's fuel-cell system is the second such powertrain from Hyundai. The automaker claims the NEXO has a better range than before, up to 370 miles.

The NEXO comes in two different configurations, the base model dubbed Blue, as well as a more upscale Limited trim level. NEXO Blue models come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED automatic headlights and daytime running lights, puddle lights, LED brake lights, heated mirrors with LED turn signal indicators and a hands-free liftgate. Inside, standard features include an 8-way, power adjustable driver's seat, a 6-way power adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, leatherette seating surfaces, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, Android auto and Apple CarPlay integration, Sirius XM Satellite radio, an USB input jack, power windows and door locks, Bluetooth controls located on the steering wheel and dual-zone automatic temperature controls.

The Limited trim adds 19-inch wheels, a power sunroof, a heated steering wheel, a remote starter, a Krell 440-watt premium sound system, roof rails, a blind spot monitor, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking sensors.

Standard safety features on the NEXO include driver, passenger, side impact and curtain airbags, stability control and traction control systems, a forward collision avoidance assist system, blind spot warning lights, a lane-keep assist system, a rearview monitor, automatic high beams and an automatic cruise control system that is capable of operating in stop and go traffic.

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How poignant, just days after reading dire warnings about climate change from the UN, to be driving an alternative-fuel vehicle that promises no local emissions at all. Could hydrogen fuel-cell cars be the cars of the future?

The 2019 Hyundai Nexo aims to convince that the answer yes. Like the existing Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity, it is fueled with hydrogen and its only waste produce is water. Assuming the fuel is made using renewable electricity methods, hydrogen could be the ultimate green power source for future vehicles. And, unlike some other fuel-cell models, the Nexo doesn't feel like you're driving a science project.

Back to science class

A quick reminder of how a fuel-cell car works: Pumps force hydrogen from the fuel tank and oxygen from the outside air into a special device called the fuel-cell stack, where chemical reactions convert those gasses into electrons (i.e., electricity) and water. That electricity, in turn, goes to an electric motor that drives the car. The Nexo also has a 1.56-kilowatt-hour battery to store excess energy from the fuel cell and to allow for recouping some via regenerative braking.

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