Hyundai has reportedly decided to push back the launch of its second-generation hydrogen-powered Nexo SUV to 2024 from the initial debut planned for 2023.
According to a report from the Seoul Economic Daily citing the auto parts industry, the delay is caused by issues with the vehicle's fuel cell development. The South Korean carmaker had planned to kick off mass production and sales of the next-generation Nexo in the second half of next year. The current version of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was launched in 2018.
The report picked up by Reuters also said the launch schedule for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at the Genesis premium brand had not been decided yet after the project to develop the first Genesis brand fuel cell vehicles was suspended in late 2021. Hyundai did not comment on the report.
According to analysts, this could indicate that Hyundai is reevaluating its hydrogen fuel business, especially for passenger cars. There are two main reasons for that: the hydrogen fuel cell car market is growing slowly while electric vehicle sales are booming.
That said, the automaker remains a strong advocate of hydrogen fuel cell technology for commercial vehicles. In September 2021, Hyundai Motor Group announced plans to offer hydrogen fuel cell versions for all its commercial vehicles by 2028. At the time, the company also said it would develop fuel cell passenger vehicles for Kia and Genesis that could be launched after 2025.
The Nexo has a minor contribution to Hyundai's sales, with the company delivering 3,978 Nexos in South Korea and exporting 120 between January and May 2022, according to company data. More than 6,000 units are manufactured each year at Hyundai's plant in Ulsan, South Korea, and exported to select markets in Europe, Asia and North America.
In the United States, the 2022 Hyundai Nexo is only available at select California dealers. The SUV starts at $59,435 before freight charges and subsidies, and offers an EPA-estimated range of 380 miles (611 kilometers) on a full tank of hydrogen.
The Nexo's fuel cell stack and battery power a front-mounted electric motor delivering 161 horsepower (120 kilowatt) and 291 pound-feet (394 Newton-meters) of torque. That's enough for a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint in about 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 111 mph (178 km/h).