Hyundai tackled land-speed record attempt with a Nexo fuel-cell crossover

It also brought a specially fitted Sonata Hybrid for its own record attempt.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Hyundai Nexo land-speed record attempt
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Hyundai Nexo land-speed record attempt

Looking speedy and emissions-free.


It was the attack of the eco-friendly machines at the Bonneville Salt Flats this past September. There, said on Tuesday it brought a Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell crossover and a Sonata Hybrid to attempt two separate land-speed records.

Both concept vehicles feature unique equipment to ensure both were were ready for the high-speed thrills Bonneville provides. At the end of the day, the Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell left the track with a speed slip reading 106.16 mph. While we await to see if the vehicle meeta FIA regulations, it sounds like this is the fastest hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle.

For the Sonata Hybrid, its best top-speed run of 164.66 mph will attempt to set the bar for the fastest gas-electric hybrid vehicle ever run at the salt flats.

The two Hyundai speed machines donned special blue, white and red graphics, but the major changes were mechanical. For the Nexo to hit the salt flats, engineers fitted the crossover with the necessary safety gear, such as a roll cage, safety seat, three-point harness and a fire suppression system. Under the zero-emissions vehicle, Hyundai also installed an aero valence to help the crossover cut through the air.

The Sonata Hybrid, on the other hand, had plenty more done to it. Under the hood, the frugal power plant benefited from a custom four-cylinder header and a nitrous system augmented things further. A 3.0-inch custom exhaust helped keep things free flowing, too. Meanwhile, the chassis received its own tweaks. A new strut, shock and spring package was installed, as was a set of Goodyear Eagle land-speed tires. Racing wheels with moon-disc covers help make the sedan look very Bonneville, and Hyundai developed its own high-performance brakes. The same safety gear was also present to make sure the sedan met all requirements to hit the flats.

Now, Hyundai will need to play the waiting game as both records are subject to FIA homologation requirements. In the meantime, we'll get a closer look at the two cars at the 2019 SEMA show next month.

Hyundai Nexo, Sonata Hybrid shoot for land-speed records

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