The Hyundai Nexo is the world’s first serial production hydrogen fuel cell-powered SUV and only one of two mainstream fuel cell cars you can buy right now. This means that the Nexo is somewhat of a project for Hyundai in order for them to see if this technology has any future in a mass application and if it makes sense to develop hydrogen cars in general.
Whenever a brand does something completely different from what we are all used to, we can expect to see lots of reliability concerns that go with it. The Hyundai Nexo seems to be a fairly reliable car overall, but there are some issues worth talking about in greater detail. New technologies come with new problems, and it’s the same with virtually all types of new cars out there.
As such, probably the worst issue you can experience with the Nexo is a leaking hydrogen fuel tank which is also a reason Hyundai recalled the Nexo. Other issues include problems with the brakes which can lose their braking abilities and affect the car’s stopping distance to a great extent.
The Nexo is only available in California which can also be viewed as an issue if you are not from California. Finally, driving a hydrogen car comes with its own set of challenges. Living with this type of car is difficult as there aren’t many hydrogen stations out there right now and fixing any powertrain failures is difficult as most mechanics don’t have a clue.
Hyundai Nexo – Hydrogen fuel leaks issue
The worst reliability issue you can experience with the Nexo is a leaky fuel tank. It seems like a prototype epoxy bonded filter is the issue because the filter can detach after refueling and cause the car to leak. This filter has to be laser welded in order for it to keep the fuel protected inside. Sadly, this caused fuel leaks which even caused a massive fire.
For this very reason, Hyundai recalled all Nexo models to remedy this issue which was somewhat of a nightmare for many customers as that took a fair bit of time. It is a bit frustrating when you buy a brand-new car just to return it back to the dealer in order for them to stop it from bursting into flames.
Hyundai Nexo – Brakes issues
Another prominent issue with the Nexo is associated with the car’s braking system in which the brakes are known to stop functioning properly and lengthen the car’s stopping distance. With such a heavy car equipped with pressurized hydrogen, you don’t want it to crash as that could be a massive disaster.
For this very reason, Hyundai once again recalled the Nexo as these brake system problems could end up catastrophically. This issue is actually really common on many Hyundai models and is caused by an Integrated Electronic Brake system that misinterprets your inputs and thus reacts in an unpredictable and downright unsafe manner.
Hyundai Nexo – Availability issues
In the intro of this article, we have mentioned that the Nexo is only available in California as Hyundai deems that California is the only place in the world where people actually want to live with and own hydrogen cars. This is rather frustrating for those who want the car, but don’t live in California and therefore can’t buy one.
This issue is even more exaggerated as there aren’t many hydrogen cars you can buy in general. The Toyota Mirai is a worldwide sold hydrogen car because Toyota believes that everyone should have access to alternative car propulsion.
Hyundai Nexo – Challenges of living with a hydrogen car
Now we need to talk about potentially the biggest set of issues for a car such as the Nexo. For starters, the car costs $60,000 which is a really big price for a Hyundai. Secondly, there aren’t many hydrogen filling stations across the US and California isn’t exactly all that much better. Thirdly, insurance and running costs for a car such as this are always going to be exaggerated because it’s so rare.
Lastly, and potentially even the most significant issue is the fact that fixing a car like this can be a nightmare. Yes, you can go through a dealership but that is often doomed to huge waiting lists which leave you with nothing. Taking a hydrogen car to a backyard mechanic is like taking the space shuttle to Jiffy Lube, it’s just not going to happen.
Should I buy a Hyundai Nexo?
Well, if you live outside California, it does not even matter because you can’t buy the Nexo anywhere outside California. Secondly, it makes little to no sense to buy a car such as this for a variety of reasons. For starters, a $60,000 price tag is hard to swallow by itself, but $60,000 on a Hyundai hardly anyone wants to buy is even more difficult to swallow.
You aren’t really aware of all the ins and outs of what it takes to own such a car and, more importantly, what it takes to maintain it. Hydrogen filling stations are difficult to come by, the 2nd hand hydrogen car market does not exist, and depreciation is incredibly difficult to calculate. All of these reasons scream – do not buy this car.
Why can’t I buy the Hyundai Nexo outside California?
Hyundai believes that California is the only state in the US, and one of the very few places in the world where the infrastructure can actually support living and owning a hydrogen car. Even so, we have seen a bunch of hydrogen shortages and other associated issues which made living with a hydrogen car in California difficult as well.
No matter how you look at it, hydrogen cars simply aren’t there for mass application. The world has turned towards classic EVs and hybrids and hydrogen cars are not getting attention at all.
Why are hydrogen cars failing?
Because there simply is no money to be made with hydrogen cars. Fuel stations are constantly losing money which is why the private initiative is likely never going to follow. EVs and hybrids are the next big thing which means that you can forget about hydrogen cars, at least for a while.