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Bucking trend, Hyundai bets on hydrogen fuel cell for new car

Motoring
AFP
1 of 2

Las Vegas: Hyundai unveiled Monday a hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle aimed at showcasing its newest technologies, bucking the all-electric trend of most rival automakers.

The South Korean manufacturer used the 201 Consumer Electronics Show to debut its Nexo, a sport utility vehicle that uses voice commands, artificial intelligence and can be transformed into an autonomous car.

"We call this the next future utility vehicles," said Hyundai vice president Ki-Sang Lee.

Hyundai said it plans to sell the Nexo in California later this year, in a bet on hydrogen even as many rivals turn to battery power.

The company said it resolved a number of issues in developing the Nexo, including starts in extreme cold weather and extending the range to nearly 600 kilometres (375 miles).

While a handful of companies have showcased fuel cell technology, obstacles include the lack of hydrogen stations and a low ratio of energy efficiency in producing fuel.

"We all understand that technological challenges and innovations are a never-ending process that will continue until we realise a mobile society of maximum convenience, zero accidents and no emissions," vice chairman Woong-chul Yang.

To promote its efforts in self-driving technology, Hyundai has formed a partnership with Silicon Valley startup Aurora Innovation, headed by former Google car executive Chris Urmson, who appeared at the media event.

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