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Hyundai Nexo driven Australias first hydrogen fuel cell EV has landed

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The Hyundai Nexo is the first hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) available in Australia and delivers plenty of EV personality wrapped in a mid-sized SUV body.

You probably heard a bit about hydrogen fuel cells well this is the first car that’s been certified for sale in australia with a hydrogen fuel cell it’s called the hyundai nexo now it’s an electric car but it’s not an ev as we know it because it doesn’t have giant battery packs instead it’s got hydrogen fuel tanks three of them all made of carbon fibre designed

To be extremely strong not just in a crash but also to deal with the extreme pressure that the hydrogen is pumped into the car now we are talking extreme pressure 700 bar about 10 000 psi in the old money to put that in perspective your average car tyre may be 30 35 psi so it really is extremely high pressure but it’s under here where the magic happens those

Hydrogen tanks feed into a fuel cell which is this giant metal box that looks a lot like an engine now in there there’s a chemical reaction going on that creates electricity lots of it now there is still a battery that’s under here under the boot floor so once you remove that you can see it in there now it’s relatively small you’re talking about one and a half

Kilowatt hours compare that with a regular ev a battery electric vehicle they have batteries 30 40 50 times that capacity and if you have a really close peak in there you can just see where the hydrogen fuel tanks are they sit under the back seat but that battery pack is an important part of the system because it gives you access to instant power rather than the

Fuel cell having to go about its business now between them between the fuel cell and the battery pack it makes 135 kilowatts of power so it’s uh it’s a fair bit now once you get beyond the fuel cell part of it it is pure electric vehicle to the point where the electric motor which sits under the fuel cell up the front of the car it’s exactly the same electric

Motor that you get in a hyundai kona ev so you’re talking 120 kilowatts 395 newton meters so respectable performance nothing out of the ordinary but what you’ve got is that awesome responsiveness that uh that great meatiness when you do first hit the throttle so it’s um it’s pretty cool in that regard it’s certainly zippy enough around town and even at sort

Of 80 90 100 k’s an hour it’s still got a reasonable amount of pull so it’s absolutely no issues in that regard perhaps the main difference between this and a regular battery electric vehicle is that sometimes at really low speeds when you’re feeding on a bit of power you can hear a bit of a gassy sound sort of like i imagine a a dinosaur sniffing for air you

Sort of get this snorting as it uh just sucking the hydrogen through the uh the lines there to try and get the whole fuel cell thing operating um not out of control and certainly very minor something like a radio would be enough to drown it out now as with a lot of hybrids and electric vehicles you get some pretty good displays and plenty of information about

What’s going on uh with all the cool stuff beneath the bonnet and uh no different here in the nexo so you you’ve got a a pretty funky display that shows where the electricity is coming from at any point in time so you know it could be just the battery it might be just the fuel cell off and it’s a combination of both particularly if you are calling on maximum

Power and then it obviously sends all of that to the electric motor which is uh driving the front wheels now as with regular evs you also get regenerative braking and um hyundai was one of the first to do it but the paddle shifters that would normally change gears on this car they uh they adjust the level of regen between about four different levels so you can

You can choose pretty much coasting so no regen or you can have more aggressive but even in its most aggressive mode it’s not nearly as full on as a regular ev so you don’t have that sort of auto breaking feel it’s just sort of fairly fairly moderate in the background but still an important part of it and obviously that’s why the batteries are out back there is

To try and capture some of that energy that you normally lose in the braking system it’s also very normal in the way it deals with bumps and goes around corners although there is one notable exception compared with regular electric vehicles and that is with weight now it’s still a pretty weighty car you’re looking at upwards of 1.8 tonnes obviously plenty going

On between the electric motor the fuel cell the the hydrogen fuel tanks all that sort of stuff is clearly adding up but the weight is in a very different place to an electric car obviously electric car batteries in the floor the center of gravity is extremely low almost unnaturally low with this car you don’t get that sensation so it’s still got a little bit of

The leaning through corners a bit of a different flavor to a regular ev like a regular electric vehicle there are advantages to this car inside things like re-seat packaging for example there’s quite a bit of space back there but the reset itself you’re sitting up a little bit higher and i guess that’s because you’ve got the uh the hydrogen tanks underneath you

They’re sitting there underneath the seats so they do take up a bit of space there’s lots of normality to the layout too you’ve got a sort of a giant platform here with all the buttons and dials and everything but they all make sense they’re all very familiar and uh two big digital screens so almost sort of flow into each other but a digital instrument cluster and

A nice big digital infotainment screen in the center there so enough tech there to to reinforce the tech going on beneath the skin but the real beauty of a fuel cell is range now this car takes about 6.66 kilograms of hydrogen i don’t measure in liters or anything else it’s kilograms and that’s 6.66 kilos is enough to take you more than 650 kilometers so well

Over what most battery electric vehicles will do and then once you’ve drained the tank it’s pretty much as simple as refueling a petrol car you roll up there’s an industrial nozzle plug it in a few minutes later full tanks easy at least that’s the theory but of course the massive issue with hydrogen at the moment is where to refuel currently there’s a handful

Of refuelling stations being built or recently opened in some of the capital cities around the country but we really are talking a handful hyundai’s also got a refueling station at its head office in sydney but not exactly practical so there’s a heck of a long way to go until hydrogen gets to the same level as petrol being able to drive pretty much anywhere in

The country stop and refuel we are years if not decades away from that but you get the impression that it’s all happening there’s enough momentum there now you’ve got brands like hyundai you’ve got toyota working very heavily on hydrogen fuel cells trying to uh to step up i guess put the uh you know it’s a horse and cart thing to some extent they’re providing

The uh the cart someone else has got to provide the horse so it’s all happening there’s enough going and i think we’re going to see some action over the next few years

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Hyundai Nexo driven! Australia's first hydrogen fuel cell EV has landed By EV Central