Hyundai has proclaimed that its Level 4 autonomous fuel cell vehicle, called the NEXO, will have the world’s best driving range.
First revealed at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hyundai has supported its “world’s best” distinction by citing its 378-mile ( 609-kilometer) range on a single charge, using Korea’s own fuel economy specification standards, which varies from U.S. EPA estimates.
Hyundai also claims a 9.2-second, zero-to-62-mph time and a top speed of 111 mph.
In a nutshell, fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen gas to power its electric motors. Hydrogen and oxygen are combined to generate electricity, with water and heat as its only emissions.
Earlier this month, Hyundai also completed a 118-mile trek of the NEXO from Seoul to Pyeongchang, South Korea, signifying a showcase of its technology ahead of the Olympic Games. Its self-drive technology addressed many real-world navigational challenges such as the passing of narrow toll booths.
On the PR side, Hyundai also made available four fuel cell electric buses with Driver State Warning (DSW) safety technology to transport passengers in Gangneung and Pyeongchang.
From a broader view, global sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been progressing slowly, with less than 7,000 sold as of Feb. 9, 2018, albeit with double the number of sales in 2017 versus the 2013 to 2016 period. Of sales, Toyota owns 76 percent of all vehicles sold, led by the limited-market Mirai, followed by Honda and Hyundai at 13 and 11 percent, respectively.
The availability of hydrogen fueling stations has also slowed down widespread adoption, with the majority of them in California.
Look for Hyundai to put its Level 4 autonomous technology into production by 2021, with Level 5 autonomous driving due by 2030.