The promises of hydrogen are convincing indeed. It is a clean fuel with no harmful tailpipe emissions (unless you are harmed by water. If so, please see a doctor immediately). Hydrogen vehicles are basically electric cars with a fuel tank. They boast the performance and instant torque of battery electric cars, while providing greater range than any pure EV on the market today. Lastly, refueling times are comparable to gasoline cars, obviating range anxiety and lengthy charging stops. And no conversation of hydrogen power would be complete without a mention that this is the most abundant element in the universe – so we can move on now.
If you want to take the plunge into living the hydrogen life, you have a few options for some of the best car makers in the business. Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai all have fuel cell cars you can drive off the lot today. Unfortunately, all of them are only available in California and Hawaii at the moment. If you live in the sunny climes of Cali or an island paradise, here’s a rundown of each car currently available:
The 2019 Hyundai Nexo has taken a small step for a Korean automaker, and a giant leap for public acceptance of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The Nexo is the first fuel-cell vehicle to go through the full battery of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests — and it did well. The Hyundai achieved the highest-possible rating of Top Safety Pick+. The safety award could be a major coup for Hyundai and other makers of hydrogen cars.
While all vehicles sold in the United States must meet certain safety standards, no hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles prior to the Nexo had undergone testing to earn safety ratings from the IIHS
The eye-catching design of the Nexo houses the only Hydrogen SUV currently on sale. Aside from it’s 4 doors and rear hatch, it also boasts a neat party trick – Nexo owners can let their car idle to generate electricity, which could prove quite useful in a blackout or emergency. “Many household items found in the kitchen, the garden, and the living room can be powered by a fuel cell electric vehicle,” Hyundai notes in a statement. It likely won’t generate enough electricity to keep an entire house juiced up but it can make the difference between living in relative comfort and getting out an armada of flashlights and candles.
The Hyundai NEXO starts at $58,300, has a range of 380 miles, and is available in two trim levels.
The 2021 Mirai FCEV is a 5-passenger, rear-wheel drive premium sedan that looks like a coupe. “We have pursued making a car that customers feel like driving all the time, a car that has emotional and attractive design appeal, as well as dynamic and responsive driving performance that can bring a smile to the faces of drivers,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. “I want customers to say, ‘I chose the Mirai not because it’s an FCEV, but because I really wanted this car, and it just happened to be an FCEV.’”
Toyota did not disclose performance or driving range specifics, other than to state a 30% range increase target from the current, 2019 Mirai’s approximate 312-mile range. Every Mirai comes with 3 years or $15,000 worth of free fuel, as well as an extended 10-year, 150,000-mile battery warranty for the model year 2020 hybrid, plug-in, and fuel cell electric vehicles
The Toyota Mirai starts at $58,500, has a range of 312 miles, and is available in 6 colors with 2 interiors.
Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is based on the hybrid Clarity, making it the only Hydrogen vehicle available that is built around an existing vehicle. Where other eco-friendly cars — we’re looking at you, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt — skimp out on interior comfort and features in the pursuit of frugality, the Clarity is almost luxury car-like in its confines. Our Touring level tester came with leather and suede-like upholstery, a power driver’s seat, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a built-in navigation system that can display the location of hydrogen stations.The seats are comfortable and outward visibility is decent thanks in part to an extra rear window tacked onto the tailgate. Cargo space at 15.5 cubic feet is about average for a mid-size sedan and not very good for a hatchback. On the outside, the Clarity strikes a balance between the very futuristic Toyota Mirai and a ho-hum Honda Accord – just enough style and sharpness to signify the tech underneath the skin.
The Hona Clarity Fuel Cell is only available for lease at $379 per month, has a range of 360 miles, and is available in 3 unique colors.