Hyundai expanding Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell availability in California—by one dealership

Sales of the Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell crossover remain limited to California, but Hyundai announced on Thursday that it is expanding sales within the state—by one dealership.

Roseville Hyundai, located near the state capital of Sacramento, is the fourth dealership to offer the Nexo, a Hyundai press release said. That includes two in Northern California, and two in Southern California, according to the automaker.

This gives an idea of the slow pace of hydrogen-fueled passenger-vehicle expansion, even in California, where the infrastructure is the best-developed. The lack of infrastructure has led Hyundai—as well as Honda and Toyota—to limit fuel-cell passenger car sales to California.

The Nexo is currently available to lease only, at $379 a month for the base Blue trim level, and $449 a month for the Limited trim level, for 36 months.

The crossover was new in 2019, and we found it to be very comfortable and pleasant driving. Its EPA-rated 380-mile range (in Blue trim), is also the longest of any fuel-cell car currently on sale. The  upcoming 2021 Toyota Mirai is aiming for at least 400 miles of range, however.

2021 Hyundai Nexo

2021 Hyundai Nexo

Hyundai has been pulling ahead of Toyota and Honda in sales of fuel-cell vehicles, although overall sales remain quite low even compared to battery-electric cars.

Although some manufacturers, such as Nikola, aim to deploy fuel-cell vehicles over a wider area, the installation of hydrogen infrastructure has failed to meet many targets over the years—including one for 100 public stations by 2020.

Earlier this year, Air Liquide showed a dual-nozzle design that might help get more out of existing stations—although the main issue might be how much hydrogen the station itself can store.

Even if more stations are built, there needs to be a reliable supply of hydrogen for them to dispense.

Last year, an incident at one of the suppliers for Northern California left thousands of drivers with no fueling options for several months—illustrating the fragility of current hydrogen infrastructure.

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