Hyundai has unveiled New Zealand's first zero emissions, hydrogen-powered SUV at Fieldays but it could be some months before it hits this country's roads while an infrastructure is built to support the technology.

Hyundai NZ spokesman Gavin Young said the company was working with the 29 other members of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association to provide the infrastructure, and expected the fuel cell system-driven vehicles would be available well within two years.

The price of the vehicle "which feels like an electric car to drive" is unknown at this stage.

The first Nexos will be released in Auckland, followed by Taranaki. Hyundai was working with the Ports of Auckland on refuelling solutions, Young said.


While the Nexo SUV is Hyundai's second generation of commercialised fuel cell electric vehicle, it's a first for New Zealand.

With full tanks, the Hyundai Nexo hydrogen-powered car can go 660km before refuelling. Photo / Supplied
With full tanks, the Hyundai Nexo hydrogen-powered car can go 660km before refuelling. Photo / Supplied

The global launch of the vehicle was early last year in Korea.

It is on the road in Norway, US, Korea, Germany and the UK.

The Nexo produces zero emissions and has an air purification system which filters 99.9 per cent of fine dust, emitting only water and clean air into the environment. The vehicle shows the exact amount of air purified on the display panel in the car.

An on-board electric motor produces 120kW and a torque of 395Nm, drawing power from an under-bonnet fuel cell stack, which combines oxygen from the surrounding air with hydrogen from Nexo's high-pressure storage tanks. The result is electricity to power the motor and charge the battery. With full tanks of hydrogen on board, Nexo is capable of traveling 605km before it needs to refuel, which takes some five minutes.

Young said the vehicle can accelerate from zero to 100km per hour in 9.2 seconds.

The Nexo features drive assistance technologies including smart parking assist and remote parking assist.

The byproduct of a hydrogen fuel cell is water, expelled from the tail pipe. This water is clean enough to support tank fish, said Hyundai. A large tank of healthy-looking fish was on hand at the Fieldays stand to support the claim.


Hyundai New Zealand was one of the founding members and the first automotive manufacturer to join the NZ Hydrogen Association in 2018.