Road Test: 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Incrementally Greener

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid adds two electric motors to the upgraded 3.5-liter V6 engine to make a powerful, roomy and slightly cleaner version of Toyota’s family crossover.

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Better fuel economy and now more affordable

For 2017, you can drive home more affordable LE and XLE versions, matching more closely with the gasoline-only lineup. Formerly the Highlander Hybrid was available only in a premium form with the Limited and Platinum models.

The Highlander is one of eight hybrids Toyota sells, cementing its reputation as the hybrid car company. The Prius family makes up half of Toyota’s hybrid stable, but there are two hybrid crossovers, including the smaller RAV4 Hybrid.

One New Engine, Two New Motors

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid blends a new, more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine with a set of electric motors, positioned in the front and rear axles. That placement lets them do different jobs. The larger motor in front, with 167 horsepower (hp) and 247 pounds-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, shares front axle driving chores with the engine. The smaller rear motor, with 68 hp and 103 lb.-ft. of torque, helps drive the rear wheels as part of the standard Electric On-

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid adds two electric motors to the upgraded 3.5-liter V6 engine to make a powerful, roomy and slightly cleaner version of Toyota’s family crossover.

A familiar grill leads off the Highlander Hybrid

Demand all-wheel-drive system. This is a different process from the all-wheel-drive system in gasoline-only Highlanders.

The goal of a hybrid vehicle is to use electric motors so you can run the gasoline engine less, reducing fuel consumption. The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid ends up being more powerful than the gasoline version, since it uses the same engine, but adds the electric motors. Total system horsepower is 306, through the odd math you get when combining output from engines and motors.

My Celestial Silver Metallic XLE test car earns fuel economy EPA ratings of 29 mpg city/27 highway/28 combined. Compare that with 20 mpg city and 27 highway for the gasoline version, and you can see that the improvement happens in town. A Start and Stop function turns the engine off when stopped, which helps reduce consumption.  

I averaged 25.0 miles per gallon over a week of mixed driving—a bit below the EPA’s estimates. The EPA Green figures, 8 for Smog and 6 for Greenhouse Gas, are better than average.

A Big, Comfortable Machine

The Highlander, now well into its third generation, provides a comfortable ride for a family of up to eight in the lower models, and seven in the higher models, which swap the middle bench for two comfy captain’s chairs. The 4,464-pound crossover excels at mass transit, with easy-to-slide second-row seats for convenient third-row access.

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Even full of passengers, the Highlander Hybrid still has luggage room

The second and third row seats fold down to open up a big, long load floor. Even with the third row up, you still have 13.8 cubic feet of space behind it. Drop the 60/40 split second row and you’ve got a commodious 42.3 cubic feet.

The body is a little bit updated front and rear for 2017, but Highlander design remains standard Toyota truck fare, with a large, double-stack grill and slim, pulled-back headlamp pods up front. Bold cutouts along the lower doors and fender accents convey the right “macho” feel while still making the Highlander look right at the Opera.

Inside, this SUV has some chunky truck aesthetics, with its dash shelf under sections of black and silver that flow into different masses. The traditional two-gauge instrument panel is flanked by a large rectangular air vent on the left, and on the right the 4.2-inch info screen sits between two tall vents. Below lives a set of traditional climate controls. 

Mobile Broadcasting

My tester had a drop-down glasses holder in the ceiling that doubled as a wide-angle mirror for checking out the second- and third-row seat activity. The Driver Easy Speak feature uses a microphone up front to broadcast parental instruction to the rear speakers. This is the first I’ve ever heard of such a thing. There are five USB ports, assuming everybody need a charge or a connection. 

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The badge can now be found on Eight Toyotas

The Highlander starts with a well-equipped LE base model and adds some worthwhile upgrades to each level. On the outside, selected LE highlights include LED taillights and stoplights, heated power outside mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels and privacy glass. The XLE adds more stuff, including blind-spot warning indicators to the mirrors, a power moonroof, a wheel upgrade, roof rails and a handy rear hatch window.

The upper models bump the wheel size to 19 inches and add projector-beam headlamps and puddle lamps on the Limited and a panoramic moonroof and rain-sensing wipers on the Platinum.

Inside, the XLE upgrades from the LE with three-zone automatic climate control, an overhead console, second-row window shades, leather seats and steering wheel, and more. The Limited adds a backup camera, ventilation for the front seats, and auto up and down on the power windows. The Platinum brings in a Bird’s Eye View camera, and even more configurable power seats and steering wheel controls. The complete list is much too long to display here.

Prices and Bottom Lines

Prices start at $37,210 for the LE model. My XLE base-priced at $42,270. The Limited checks in at $45,700, with the Limited Platinum topping out at $48,820. All prices include the $940 destination charge. My car had an optional Rear Seat BluRay DVD entertainment system ($1,810), so it listed for $44,080.

The Highlander fills a popular spot in the Toyota lineup. The Hybrid powertrain increases fuel economy numbers for this commodious family hauler to figures that used to be expected from compact sedans.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Toyota Hybrids

News: 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Introduced

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Mirai

Road Test: 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (Steve’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (John’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (Steve’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (Larry’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius V

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (John’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Road Test: 2016 Toyota Prius (Steve’s view)

Road Test: 2016 Toyota Prius (Steve’s view)

First Drive: 2016 Toyota Prius

Road Test: 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

Four of Five Light-duty Pickups Will Now Offer Diesel Engines

Like Samuel Clemens’ famous anti-epitaph, the death of diesel engine during this past year has been greatly exaggerated, if you look at the news coming out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Saturday, Jan. 13, Chevrolet announced that its 2019 Silverado pickup will get a healthy dose of car tech along with a stout diesel engine that will allow it to go toe-to-toe with the just-announced 2019 Ford F-150 diesel and two incumbents, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Nissan Titan XD.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

With the Duramax six, all three pickup leaders now will offer diesels

The Chevrolet Silverado Duramax diesel is an inline six that GM’s Global Product Development Chief Mark Reuss said would be the “best-performing” engine in the class. No specs were released, so it is unclear if Reuss was talking about horsepower, torque, fuel economy or some combination of them all. More details were promised soon.

The new Duramax and the revised carryover 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 will mate up with a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed transmission to optimize fuel economy. Those engines will also get something GM is calling Dynamic Fuel Management, which has the ability to shut off cylinders not needed for acceleration. That technology, on which they didn’t elaborate, sounds like Tula Technology’s Dynamic Skip Fire that Clean Fleet Report recently test drove. The engine also will add start-stop capability.

Materials News

In another swipe at its cross-town rival, Chevrolet made a major point of its up to 450-pound weight loss without simply swapping out steel for aluminum. GM took a much more complicated path of analyzing each part and component on the truck and determining the best material to use that would deliver weight reduction while maintaining durability, safety and functionality.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Chevy’s weight-loss program meant using different materials throughout the truck

That process results in the 2019 Silverado, which ends up with aluminum doors, hood and tailgate, steel body panels and bed, high strength steel chassis and advanced high strength steel for some of the key structural pieces of the cab (they ended up with seven different grades of steel in the truck in the end). The same analysis resulted in substitutions such as carbon-composite second stage-springs that saved more than 12 pounds wherever they were used compared to the previous stamped steel units.

The weight reduction program is even more remarkable when you look at the dimensions of the new truck. It has grown almost four inches in wheelbase and 1.6 inches overall compared to its predecessor. Those extra inches have been used to increase cabin and cargo space.

In addition to weight reduction, the Silverado also got some serious wind tunnel work to reduce aerodynamic drag. Engineers also added features borrowed from car models such as the air curtains in the grill first seen in the sixth generation Camaro.

And All the Car Tech

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Inside, the Silverado gets even more car-like

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado (as well as its GMC Sierra cousin, which will be introduced later this year) receives a healthy dose of previously car-based technology. Reuss promised the new Silverado would be “the most connected” truck GM has ever offered. They didn’t announce all of the features, but said the Silverado will get wireless phone charging, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and more features to be announced later.

Chevrolet’s adding three new trim levels to the Silverado so customers will now be able to choose from nine different models of the pickup. The packages highlight options designed for odd-roading and different tire-wheel combos. Compared to passenger cars, pickup trucks remain highly customizable vehicles, something Chevy clearly wants to tap into.

New 2019 Chevrolet Silverados are expected to go on sale this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but it’s likely there will be little change from current pricing because of the highly competitive truck market.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

News: 2018 Ford F-150 Gets a Diesel

Road Test: 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Road Test: 2016 Nissan Titan XD

News: Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept Introduced in Detroit

News: Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept Introduced in Detroit

A Swoopy Look at the Future Debuts; Surprise: It’s Not An Electric Car

For weeks, Infiniti has been teasing the Q Inspiration Concept ahead of its world introduction at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The glimpses hinted at the Japanese luxury carmaker’s future design direction and how its next fleet of cars could look. Not seeing any tailpipes on the rear end led us to believe it was powered by a battery-electric powertrain.

But when the car was revealed today, the Infiniti Q Inspiration proved to be more than just a swoopy, athletic piece of motor show eye candy; beneath the skin the concept featured Infiniti’s new variable compression ration gasoline engine technology (VC-Turbo).

A Different Kind of Gasoline Engine

VC-Turbo made its production debut in the 2019 QX50 crossover SUV at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show last November. In the Q Inspiration, VC-Turbo allows Infiniti designers to make the most of the packaging, taking advantage of the compact powertrain to increase the size of the cabin while maintaining the footprint of a midsize car.

Infiniti Q Inspiration

The Infiniti concept drives into the brand’s future

The VC-Turbo uses some complex mechanical magic to vary compression on the fly, between 8:1 for high-performance situations, to 14:1 for maximum efficiency. Mounted to the exhaust manifold and integrated in the cylinder heads of the four-cylinder engine is a single-scroll turbocharger. Infiniti says the system provides the torque and response of a hybrid or turbodiesel powertrain without sacrificing efficiency. In the Infiniti Q Inspiration, the power is directed to four wheels via a front-biased all-wheel-drive drivetrain. The system can direct torque to the rear wheels individually as needed.

Deatails about power output or fuel economy were not released.

Short Hood, Stretched Cabin And Swooping, Coupe-Like Roof Line

The Infiniti Q Inspiration will certainly stand out in a crowd. It features an over-sized, double-arch grille with narrow slits and a lighted Infiniti logo near the hood line. Additional scoops bring more wind into the engine and feed the blade-like air curtains used to reduce turbulence around the front wheels. The slit LED headlamps are framed by distinctive LED strip lights. bulging fenders give the sedan a muscular stance, with a strong crease that runs nearly wheel well-to-wheel well. A close look reveals hidden door handles and a lack of mirrors, with the concept opting for side view cameras.

The car has no pillar at its rear door, and the roofline has an aggressive, coupe-like curve that stretches, fastback style, into the rear decklid. Narrow taillamps that pick up the LED strip look wrap across the back of the concept and flare into the rear fenders.

Infiniti Q Inspiration

Using concept cars trucks like “suicide doors,” ingress to the interior is easy

“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative,” Christian Meunier, Infiniti global vice president, said. “The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience who seek modern design and new technologies.”

Minimalist Interior

Interior design is a minimalist approach to not distract drivers from driving. It provides everyone with a relaxed and airy environment, trimmed with leather and matte wood. Even though the concept has a midsize footprint, interior space is on par with some larger luxury sedans. Getting in and out is made easier with pillarless suicide back doors and low sills.

The instrument panel has a horizontal orientation and is divided into two tiers. The upper level features video displays that extend door-to-door. Another touchscreen, just above that center console, controls the infotainment and climate control systems.

Infiniti Q Inspiration

The engine’s already here and the design is coming soon

The Infiniti Q Inspiration can seat four passengers with each given their own floating touchscreen infotainment system. This allows passengers to watch a film, read the news or relax individually without distracting other occupants. Each screen offers “guided meditation to help occupants leave any stress behind when they start a journey,” says Nissan “The car can also monitor passenger biometrics.”

Finally, a raft of ProPilot near-future semi-autonomous drive technology have been adopted from parent company Nissan. The car uses camera and radar input to support the driver in responding to other vehicles on the road ahead. In this application, ProPilot can automate end-to-end driving, operating and navigating autonomously on multi-lane highways and intersections alike.

A True Concept Car

The Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept isn’t planned for production. It does, however, offer a glimpse into the technologies we’ll see in Infinitis of the near future.  As for styling, the concept is intended to show a design vision for upcoming sedans such as the Q70 sedan, which is due for a redesign in 2019 or 2020.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

Tech: Engine Variable Compression Gamechanger

Riad Test: 2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD

Road Test: 2015 Infiniti Q50

Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti M35h Hybrid

Personal: 12 Years of Electrifying Progress for Cars and Clean Fleets

Personal: 12 Years of Electrifying Progress for Cars and Clean Fleets

Clean Fleet Report Founder Looks Back—And Forward

We have seen amazing progress in cars, electrified transportation and in the future of mobility, since I started Clean Fleet Report in 2006. Oil usage peaked in 2006 in the United States and other developed nations and I reported 10 reasons.

Chevrolet Bolt

What once was rare (the EV) is becoming more commonplace

Clean Fleet Report was started to showcase success in clean transportation. Fleets were five years ahead of the mass market. Although I could not find hundreds of electric vehicles in my neighborhood, at US Marine Corps Camp Pendleton I witnessed hundreds of electric vehicles being charged with solar power. They also had a large fleet of advanced diesel vehicles running on biofuel and even a hydrogen fuel cell pilot. In 2006, it took fleets to put in the charging or fueling infrastructure, stock the parts, secure the advanced diagnostics and training, and keep everything running.

Now my neighborhood streets include a steady stream of electric cars from Tesla, Chevrolet, BMW, Nissan, Ford and dozens of others. Since I live near Silicon Valley, where every automaker has an R&D center, I also see a number of autonomous vehicles clocking-up their millions of miles.

I still am in awe of the innovators and the fleet managers who devote years to working through all the issues so that we can all benefit from the technology breakthroughs.

The Circle of Life

I interviewed hundreds of people for my book, Save Gas, Save the Planet. One theme that emerged is many experience a “circle of life.” Their college was in a city with excellent transit and they lived car-free. Later, a job, a relationship or a dog necessitated their buying a car. Relationships blossomed and they had a car and a truck. Many raised children and worked longer hours to support three or four vehicles. Eventually, they retire, downsizing to two, then one, and finally zero cars.

Mobility Services

Shared electric bikes are another mobility option

With children long grown, my wife and I replaced our two cars with one Chevrolet Volt. My mom is down to zero. In my book and in Clean Fleet Report, I surveyed the progress of hybrids, electrics, advanced fuels and integrated urban transportation. When the book was released in 2009, much of the technology looked cutting edge.

Naysayers dismissed electric cars as expensive golf carts. Now we have millions of electric cars, SUVs, buses and trucks. We have 150 million electric bicycles. My wife and I only have one electric car, but two electric bikes, and frequently travel on electric buses and rail. Fleets continue to convert innovation into major success.

Another area of breakthrough success is in smart cities around the world. The future of urban mobility is ACES: Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared.

Shared

For decades, we have used shared mobility in cities as we ride on buses, rail and on-demand ride-sharing options, including Uber and Lyft. Most major cities have metro rail and bus systems that enable people to travel faster.

Toyota Concept-i EV

We don’t know what the transportation future will look like, but we hope it will be ACES 

Of our shared choices, rail moves the most; cars the least, with buses in between. Rail is laid down into fixed routes that last 40 to 100 years, yet cities grow and reshape organically. When people deboard transit one-quarter mile from their destination, most walk. But for the last one-to-three miles, on-demand services are needed. Smart cities have integrated these services of rail, bus, on demand, bicycling and walking.

Electric

Around 20 years ago, Toyota added an electric motor and advanced battery to a conventional car and introduced the hybrid Prius. Success in hybrid cars led to hybrid heavy-duty vehicles such as buses and trucks. With the success of hybrids, plug-in vehicles were introduced, so that batteries could be charged from garage outlets or public chargers.

By 2025, Navigant expects 37 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the global roads, fueled by lithium battery costs falling from $1,000 per kWh in 2010 to $145 (GM’s price from LG Chem reports Car and Driver).

From electric cars to electric buses and electric rail, we are ending our dependence on gasoline and diesel powering 15 percent efficient drive systems and transitioning to local renewable energy powering 90 percent efficient electric drive systems. Mobility is increasingly powered by wind and solar, not from the extreme emissions from shale drilling and pipelines from tar sands. Millions of lives will be saved annually, now lost to lung damage from air pollution. Trillions will be saved in health care.

In most developed nations of the world, transit systems in major cities are connected with high-speed rail, which is pure electric. The planned 800-mile high-speed rail system for California will connect all major cities, 25 transit systems and run on 100 percent renewable energy. Those transit systems are planning on thousands of electric buses. Ridesharing providers are already adding electric cars to their fleets.

Autonomous

Drivers kill over a million annually, making the roads unsafe for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Self-driving cars see better, using multiple cameras, lasers and 360-degree lidar. Self-driving cars are totally focused on driving; don’t text, bounce to music, drive after drinking, smoke dope or get distracted.

ZIPcar Car sharing

Sharing is becoming a real, growing option to car ownership; soon that shared car may pick you up instead of you picking it

Machine learning and big data will make full use of autonomous fleets during peak hours, routing them to the right places at the right times. In some cities, wireless charging will be used for the fleets of self-driving cars and shuttles. In others, the vehicles will drive themselves during off-peak hours to car washes and parking structures where they will be fast-charged.

The benefits of self-driving are hotly debated. A transportation authority, San Francisco CTA, states that the on-demand services have made the streets of SF more congested. Other studies conclude that on-demand leads to fewer cars and more transit use. After analyzing the data from three million taxi rides, MIT calculated that 2,000 on-demand 10-person vans in New York CIty could replace 14,000 taxis. MIT researchers also estimate that successful use of ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft could reduce the number of vehicles on the road by a whopping 75 percent without slowing down travel.

We will have autonomous cars, buses and trucks. Vancouver even has electric self-driving Skytrain monorail.

Put a price on carbon, congestion zones and vehicle miles traveled during peak hours, and most urban transportation will not be solo drivers. It will be in electric and autonomous shared rides like Lyft Lines, Waymo and Waze (Alphabet companies) shuttle vans, autonomous buses and rail. Autonomous vehicles will save lives, insurance rates will drop, hospital bills will drop, urban housing will be more affordable without requirements of one and two spaces per unit. ACES mobility improves urban density.

When I listen to debates about autonomous vehicles, I am reminded of similar debates 10 years ago about electric vehicles. EVs were predicted to add massive congestion, use nothing but coal power, eliminate jobs and cause recessions by reducing petroleum demand. None of these alarming forecasts happened.

Connected

We were making a long and painful drive back from Los Angeles to San Francisco in heavy traffic. On the freeway, in the middle an empty desert, my Android Auto navigation told me that I could save 37 minutes by taking the next exit. I almost dismissed the direction as an error, but I trusted Google Maps and took the exit. As we drove 12 miles on a windy sideroad, I looked at the I-5 freeway in complete gridlock, due to a major accident. After 12 miles, we were directed back on the freeway, indeed saving 37 minutes.

2017 Mazda CX-3

Your car is now connected to the world and can help you navigate through it

Google could see the speed of thousands of Google Map users at that GPS location. In my Google Map settings, I had given permission to reroute me based on traffic information. Google’s sophisticated algorithms saved me valuable time. Tomorrow, similar apps will guide us through our day of interconnected services making best use of rail, transit, car, and some healthy walking.

Leading cities are already using ACES – autonomous, connected, electric, and shared mobility. Look for high growth in smart cities. ACES brings us mobility that is safe, pollution-free, healthy and less expensive.

Congratulations to all who have made a difference these past 12 years. Engineers have dramatically improved drive systems. Software wizards have transformed cars into networks of supercomputers on wheels.

Congratulations to Michael Coates, who has been running Clean Fleet Report these last three years and to his team, which keeps you updated about today’s most efficient cars and tomorrow’s most intelligent transportation. Most important are all the readers from fleet managers and car owners who take the best information and ideas and put them into action.

News: Fisker EMotion EV Introduced at CES

News: Fisker EMotion EV Introduced at CES

Look out, Tesla and Mercedes!

Henrik Fisker is back with a successor to the Karma, which he calls the Fisker EMotion. His new electric sports GT, which debuted at the CES in Las Vegas, will challenge the EV purveyors to the rich and famous when it debuts at the end of 2019.

Fisker EMotion

A design-forward re-entry to the EV business

The slinky, curvy four- or five-seat sedan will be built from carbon fiber and aluminum to save weight. The unique design features four butterfly doors with touch-sensitive sensors, for a dramatic effect and easy entry and exit. And you won’t forget your key—you can open the car with your smartphone.

The EMotion is expected to rocket from 0-60 mph in under three seconds, thanks to a 575-kW (780 horsepower) motor fed by a whopping 143-kWh battery.

New Battery Tech

This Tesla Model S competitor will up the ante with more than 400 miles of range on a charge. And those charges should be quick. Fisker claims the new battery will accumulate 125 miles of range in a mere nine minutes. For even greater convenience, in 2023, Fisker’s cars are slated to move to solid state batteries with two-and-a-half times the capacity of today’s lithium-ion batteries. These will offer incredible one-minute charging, per Fisker.

Fisker EMotion

Open for business–send cash

With five Lidar sensors and connected systems, the EMotion is expected to offer Level 4 autonomy.

Naturally, all is gorgeous inside. Under the electrochromatic tinted roof, leather is standard, but you can order a vegan-friendly interior. The driver gets three display screens, and rear passengers can enjoy their own screens, too.

Taking the Tesla marketing style as a model, the California-based Fisker, Inc. will sell cars directly to consumers through Fisker Experience Centers; eventually, the company hopes to build more than 400.

Plan on spending at least $129,900 for an EMotion. Send in your refundable deposit of $2,000 and you can be one of the lucky first buyers on the list. See https://www.fiskerinc.com for details.

Other CES Stories:

News: 2019 Hyundai Nexo FCEV

News: Byton Introduces Electric SUV

News: Kia Introduces Niro EV Concept

News: 2019 Hyundai Nexo FCEV

News: 2019 Hyundai Nexo FCEV

All-new Hydrogen-Powered Crossover Debuts at CES 2018

Hyundai was first on the market in 2014 with a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) version of its Tucson compact SUV. After several years of real world testing, Hyundai announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that an all-new FCEV, the Nexo, is coming in late 2018 as a 2019 model.

2019 Hyundai Nexo FCEV

Hyundai’s next generation fuel cell electric vehicle is the Nexo FCEV

Hyundai was very smart in placing its hydrogen technology in a crossover, one of the hottest car segments in the country. With the Nexo, improvements over the current Tucson FCEV (which Clean Fleet Report recently tested) are noticeable and impressive.

The Nexo is a dedicated design and platform, differing from the Tucson FCEV, which was shared with the gasoline-powered Tucson. Being a purpose-built vehicle has several benefits, including placing the battery and fuel cell systems in optimum locations for increased interior cabin space and better weight distribution for improved handling and balance.

The Nexo has a 120-kW motor, which delivers 291 pounds-feet of torque, and a 40-kW battery, all increases over the outgoing Tucson. The numbers that potential owners will be interested in though are the 9.5 seconds 0-60, and a 370-mile estimated driving range.

Advanced Technology Testbed

The Nexo will come with advanced driver assistance technologies, including a Blind-spot View Monitor, Lane Following Assist, Highway Driving Assist and Remote Smart Parking Assist. All these systems are anticipated to be available when the Nexo goes on sale later this year.

This new technology led to the enticing tidbit revealed today at CES—Hyundai’s plans to use the Nexo as its test vehicle for the development of autonomous driving. Hyundai showed a short video where the Nexo was cruising along on a mountain road with the driver’s hands not on the steering wheel. To accomplish its goal of a self-driving car, Hyundai has entered into a partnership with Aurora, a Silicon Valley company headed by a former Google autonomous vehicle executive.

A California Car

2019 Hyundai Nexo FCEV

The lack of hydrogen pumps will limit Nexo’s availability

Pricing was not announced, but if Hyundai stays true to its history, the Nexo will be somewhere in the same price range as the three current hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the market—its Tucson, the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity. Anticipate the Nexo will be available on a lease-only basis and, until further hydrogen fuel station development takes place, it will only be for sale in California.

The Nexo joins Hyundai’s line of the three Ioniq models (a battery electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid). The Nexo will be a strong compliment to these and should be an indication that Hyundai is not stopping its development of electrified vehicles.

Clean Fleet Report will have a full review on the 2019 Nexo when it is made available to the automotive media.

Other CES Stories You Might Enjoy:

News; Fisker Introduces Some High-end EMotion

News: Byton Introduces an Electric SUV

News: Kia Introduces Niro EV Concept

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Tucson FCEV

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Mirai (Steve’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Mirai (John’s view)

First Drive: 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

2014 LA Auto Show: A Hydrogen Milestone