Hyundai first showcased the Nexo fuel-cell-powered electric vehicle (FCEV) in India at the 2020 Auto Expo, and now, the carmaker has registered the vehicle on the Regional Transport Office (RTO) website. The online document reveals that the Nexo FCEV has been brought to India for testing purposes. Considering that Hyundai has previously showed interests in introducing FCEVs in India, the Nexo could very well be launched in our market at a later point of time.
But lets address the basics first. How does a FCEV differ from a regular EV. For starters, instead of using a large battery pack like a regular EV, an FCEV derives its power from a fuel-cell backed by a hydrogen tank. The power is then sent to an electric motor, which is mostly identical to that of a regular EV. The Hyundai Nexo FCEV uses an electric motor developing developing 161hp and of power and 395Nm of torque and is backed by a 156.6-litre hydrogen tank. According to European WLTP standards, the Nexo is capable of doing 611km on a full tank. Here's a video to explain the working on an FCEV in more detail.
Unlike a regular EV which requires charging of batteries, an FCEV only requires its hydrogen tank to be refilled. So, with adequate fuel cell pumps, range shouldn't be an issue. The Nexo also utilizes a small 1.56kWh battery pack for added backup. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had suggested hydrogen as an alternative fuel back in 2019. With fuel cell technology still in its infancy, we might have to wait a few years before this becomes mainstream. We will also have to wait for hydrogen pumps to become mainstream.
The Nexo is designed as per Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design language. It looks sleek, stylish, and most importantly, aerodynamic. The sleek split LED headlamps, imposing grille and smooth curves give the Nexo quite an appeal. Unlike the Kona - which is smaller than the Creta - the Nexo is almost as large as the Tucson. On the inside, the center console looks very similar to that of the Kona but its highlight has to be the Mercedes-like twin screens for the instrument console and infotainment system.
Features onboard the Nexo FCEV include a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, smart cruise control, forward collision assist, a 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, powered tailgate, paddle shifters, ventilated/powered front seats, and a fully digital instrument cluster. Hyundai was the first manufacturer to bring an EV to India with the Kona EV, and could also be the first to adopt FCEVs. If Hyundai does launch it in India, it will likely come in as a full import and will be available in select cities only. But first, it is the infrastructure that needs to step up.