Australian Hyundai Nexo breaks hydrogen fuel-cell distance record

Rally driver Brendan Reeves nursed the Nexo more than 222km beyond its official range while travelling from Melbourne to beyond Broken Hill

Nexo world distance record Australia
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Talking points

  • The unmodified Nexo travelled 887.5km on a single tank
  • The Nexo's official range is 666km
  • The previous world record, set in France, was 778km

An Australian team driving a Hyundai Nexo fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) has broken the world record for the longest distance travelled in a hydrogen-powered vehicle on a single tank.

Australian Hyundai rally driver Brendan Reeves drove the unmodified Nexo 887.5km from Essendon Fields in Melbourne to Silverton, near Broken Hill.

The journey smashed Nexo’s official WLTP range of 221.5km, and convincingly beat the previous records of 778km set by French aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, also at the wheel of a NEXO, on his journey across France from Sarreguemines to Le Bourget.

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After 807km of efficiency-focused driving, Reeves arrived in Broken Hill with plenty of range still showing on the vehicle’s trip computer.

He continued to Silverton, an outback town on the outskirts of Broken Hill best known as the setting for Mad Max 2, and the car then travelled some 60km beyond before the NEXO’s hydrogen tank was depleted on the Wilangee Road beyond Eldee Station.

The trip took 13 hours and six minutes at an average speed of 66.9km/h.

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A representative from the RACV was on hand to seal the NEXO’s tank at the start of the journey, and an NRMA representative confirmed the validity of the tank seal at the end.

The NEXO’s low fuel warning first lit up at 686km, with more than 200km of range left from that point. The fuel light started flashing after 796km, with 90km of real range remaining.

The Nexo technically travelled more than 900km – the isolated GPS unit onboard registered 903.4km, while the Google Maps distance showed 905km travelled.

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However, for the purposes of the test, the NEXO’s own trip computer was used as the official distance recorder.

Reeves said, as a rally driver, he always wanted to achieve a world record but never guessed it would be this way.

“I was constantly checking the Nexo’s efficiency readout to maximise the distance I was getting per kilogram of hydrogen. I found that by using techniques from rally driving, such as looking as far down the road as possible, as well as tips I have learned from my dad for driving a truck efficiently over long distances, it’s actually possible to go way beyond Nexo’s official range.”

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Hyundai Australia's Senior Manager of Future Mobility Scott Nargar (left) congratulates Brendan Reeves.

The Nexo's trip computer showed it consumed a total of 6.27kg of hydrogen during the trip, at a rate of 0.706kg/100km.

It purified 449,100 litres of air on the journey, enough for 33 adults to breathe in a day and its plastic exhaust pipe emitted only water in vapour and droplet form throughout the trip.

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According to Hyundai it emitted zero CO2, while a standard Internal Combustion Engine vehicle would have emitted about 126kg of CO2 over the same distance.

Hyundai recently imported the first 20 second-generation Nexo FCEVs into Australia, which are now deployed in a variety of roles with the ACT Government.

 

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