Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell car earns five stars in Euro NCAP safety testing

Hydrogen fuel cell safety crash 
The Hyundai Nexo fuel cell electric vehicle is the first hydrogen car to undergo Euro NCAP testing Credit: Thatcham

The Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has been awarded five stars in Euro NCAP testing, winning praise from crash testers and earning a top spot among alternative-fuel vehicles. 

Specialists at Thatcham Research, a British safety organisation which conducts Euro NCAP tests, commended the Nexo's occupant protection score of 94 percent – the highest of any zero-emission vehicle – and autonomous emergency braking systems (AEB). 

“The Hyundai NEXO is the first hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle that Euro NCAP has tested,” said Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research. 

“Its five-star safety rating should dispel concerns around how hydrogen fuel cell powered cars perform in a crash. With the NEXO, Hyundai have successfully demonstrated that alternative fuelled vehicles need not pose a risk to car safety.”

It is the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, or FCEV, to undergo Euro NCAP tests. FCEVs use a fuel cell stack to turn hydrogen into electricity, which is used to turn the wheels. The only tailpipe emission is pure, drinkable water and the hydrogen can be generated using renewable energy such as wind or solar.

Advantages over conventional battery-electric vehicles include enhanced range (the Nexo will travel over 400 miles on a single charge) and recharging times of a few minutes, rather than the hours usually taken by BEVs. However, the cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is high, and refuelling infrastructure in the UK is still fairly weak. 

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP said: “The fuel cell NEXO and hybrid [Lexus] ES point the way for future powertrains and Euro NCAP will work to ensure that safety performance as well as energy efficiency remains at the top of the manufacturers’ agenda.”

The Hyundai Nexo will be available in the United Kingdom from early next year.

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