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You might not even realize that the Hyundai Nexo exists, given that there are so few on the road. Its other electric EV sibling, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, appears to be vastly more popular. The Hyundai Nexo’s problem doesn’t lie in poor marketing but rather an unfortunate element of the hydrogen fuel cell charging infrastructure.

The Hyundai Nexo’s hydrogen fuel powertrain is indirectly hurting its sales

The Hyundai Nexo is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell battery instead of a standard EV battery. Refueling requires a unique process of converting water and hydrogen into usable energy. It can currently only be done at fuel cell recharging stations, and the vast majority of those are in California. There’s also a solitary fuel cell charging station in Honolulu, Hawaii.

While other state governments have discussed implementing these stations in their own cities, none have done so yet. As such, it’s only practical to buy a Hyundai Nexo if you live in California. You could do so from Hawaii, but you’d have to deal with additional shipping hassles and costs. 

Is anyone buying the Hyundai Nexo?

According to GoodCarBadCar, only 34 Hyundai Nexo units were sold in July. This raises the Nexo’s year-to-date sales by 17%. Still, the Hyundai Nexo is only half as popular in 2023 compared to last year. June was its worst month so far, during which only 8 units were sold.

In comparison, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is practically thriving. This EV is 13% more popular this year, with a total of close to 18,000 vehicles sold so far. It sold over 4,000 units in the month of July alone. Its availability range is much wider than the Nexo’s, currently sold in over 40 U.S. states.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has a typical lithium-ion battery, so you can charge it virtually anywhere in the United States. Each Hyundai Ioniq 5 also comes with its own 120-volt charging cable, which you can plug in to any standard home outlet. This is the slowest way to charge the vehicle, requiring up to 68 hours to bring the battery from 10% to 100%.

Even if you have the standard range battery, the same process takes 58 hours. With a Level 2 charger, you can probably recharge your Hyundai Ioniq 5 completely in about 6-7 hours. DC fast-chargers are the most time-efficient option, requiring just 18 minutes to deliver a 70% charge. 

Is there any hype to be had for the Hyundai Nexo?

One great thing about the Hyundai Nexo, and any other hydrogen battery car, is its quick recharging speeds. You only need five minutes to completely replenish the battery. Whenever you buy a new Nexo, Hyundai also gives you a hydrogen fueling card with $15,000 loaded onto it. That should keep most Nexo drivers moving for three years, if not more. 

The Hyundai Nexo Blue has an impressive range of 380 miles, while the Limited trim can be driven for up to 354 miles. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has a few different battery and motor combinations, but 303 miles is its maximum electric range estimate. With the standard battery pack and the dual-motor setup, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 only gets 210 miles of range.

However, that model also makes 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque. The Hyundai Nexo is FWD-only and only has one powertrain configuration. It generates just 161 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque. 

Even with all the extra power, the Hyundai made the Ioniq 5 more affordable than any Hyundai Nexo. You’ll pay less than $42,000 for the Ioniq 5 Standard Range, but the cheapest Nexo is over $60,000. Limited charging options might be the Nexo’s biggest disadvantage, but the Ioniq 5 has it beat in several other areas as well. 


Is The Hyundai Nexo Actually Worth Buying?