Auto manufacturers have been working tirelessly toward creating vehicles which do not depend on fossil fuels for energy. Their first major breakthrough in this endeavor was the concept of electric vehicles. An electric vehicle uses an electric motor and rechargeable battery to create power to turn its wheels. Since no fossil fuel is burned, no carbon emissions are released from the tailpipe.
However, the major problem with electric vehicles is their battery power is limited and does not allow you to travel at the same high speeds as petrol vehicles. For this reason, electric vehicles are better for local driving at lower speeds. But when it comes to long-distance driving, the best eco-friendly alternative is hydrogen fuel cell cars.
My experience driving hydrogen cars has provided valuable insights into the advantages of driving them versus electric cars. I can attest that hydrogen cars are zero-emission vehicles offering far superior benefits to motorists. They let you travel at the same high speeds and long distances as petrol vehicles without releasing toxic carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Each hydrogen car uses fuel cell technology where hydrogen gas and oxygen unite to produce electricity for the wheels. No fossil fuels are burned here, either.
I’ve become quite familiar with hydrogen cars after living in California for the last few years. California is one of the only U.S. states offering hydrogen vehicles for sale and refueling stations with hydrogen gas fuel. However, due to technological advancements in hydrogen cars, you may see them expand to other states and countries in the near future.
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Best Hydrogen Cars to Watch in 2023
Major auto manufacturers have recently announced new hydrogen fuel cell prototypes and concept vehicles, including Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and BMW. They have developed 10 ambitious and technologically sophisticated hydrogen car prototypes and concepts, which have certainly captured my interest. It is only a matter of time before these vehicles hit the roads and revolutionize the market for zero-emission vehicles.
What is the best hydrogen car? I know what I think, but you can pick your favorite based on the information I provided below.
1) Toyota Mirai
Toyota is one of the most innovative auto manufacturers worldwide. They made international headlines when introducing their hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius. Now, the company has done it again by showcasing their second-generation hydrogen fuel cell car, Toyota Mirai, in their exquisite auto showroom.
The original Toyota Mirai was launched approximately nine years ago. It did not do as well because hydrogen cars were still a relatively new concept with virtually no fueling stations. But ever since the hydrogen car concept gained more attention, consumers have been ready to invest in it. That is why the second-generation Toyota Mirai has gotten almost 900 sales in Q3 2023.
- Travel range of up to 400 miles before needing to refuel
- 12-3-inch touchscreen display
- Rear-wheel drive
- Three hydrogen gas tanks
- Zero emissions
- Three driving modes (Sport, Eco, Normal)
- Panoramic view monitor
- Digital rearview mirror with HomeLink
- Qi-Wireless charging with four USB ports
- Pre-collision system with pedestrian dedication
“The Toyota Mirai was the first car I got after moving to California. Despite the high purchase price, it is one of the most powerful electric cars I have ever driven. It produces no carbon emissions but still drives as fast and as far as a gasoline vehicle.”
2) 2024 Hyundai Nexo
The 2024 Hyundai Nexo is a stylish hydrogen fuel cell car with a comfortable cabin, impressive technological features, and a robust infrastructure. This newest update to the previous 2019 model has added tint to the rear windshield, new USB-C ports, and odor-resistant HVAC.
The Hyundai Nexo is a South Korean model hydrogen car in direct competition with the Toyota Mirai. They are the first two major hydrogen car models to be sold to the public. Each company continues to innovate their respective hydrogen car models with new features and better driving experiences.
- Travel range of up to 380 miles before needing to refuel
- 95-kW fuel-cell stack
- 40-kWh battery pack
- 161 horsepower
- 291 pound-feet of torque
- Comfortable cabin
- 360-degree camera
- Premium audio system
- Built-in navigation system
- Zero emissions
- Quick refills
“I love everything about this hydrogen car. Everything from the navigational technology to the torque and horsepower makes this my new favorite emission-free car.”
3) BMW iX5 Hydrogen
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is a limited model edition to the hydrogen car market. With only 100 units manufactured, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is a prototype with great potential. Test drives have shown it can reach top speeds of 110+ mph and travel over 300 miles before needing to be refueled. It can even function in cold weather temperatures.
BMW is a German high-class auto brand that has heavily invested in and worked on hydrogen fuel cell car technology for over 20 years. They are on a mission to combat climate change like most of the United Kingdom and the Western World. Their BMW iX5 Hydrogen car is a big step in that direction.
- Travel range of up to 310 miles before needing to refuel
- 401 horsepower – 0 to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds
- Top speed exceeds 110 miles per hour
- Short refueling times
- Zero emissions
- Rear-wheel drive
- Aerodynamic 22-inch alloy wheels
4) Toyota GR Yaris H2
The Toyota GR Yaris H2 was first introduced in December 2021. It is a state-of-the-art hydrogen car with an enhanced version of the previous GR Yaris engine. The new update features a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with three cylinders offering up to 278 pound-feet of torque and 260 horsepower.
Toyota has yet to release much information about the specifications of the Toyota GR Yaris H2. It has some of the same features found in the Toyota Mirai, such as hydrogen fuel tanks, fuel cells, and the basic refueling process. Furthermore, the Toyota GR Yaris H2 has the same powertrain as another hydrogen-powered vehicle called the Corolla Sport, which can be seen racing in Japan’s Super Taikyu race series.
- Turbocharged 1.6-liter 3-cylinder engine
- 278 pound-feet of torque
- 260 horsepower
- Zero emissions
- Aerodynamic low and wide stance
“As a big fan of the Corolla Sport, I am excited to see the Toyota GR Yaris H2 in action on the race track. I hope it will one day be available for sale to the public.”
5) Hyundai N Vision 74
The Hyundai N Vision 74 is a futuristic-style hydrogen vehicle based on the classic Italian car design of the 1974 Pony Coupe Concept. While this traditional concept has yet to be produced for the public, the Hyundai N Vision 74 hopes to make history by going into production with the classic design implemented.
The Hyundai N Vision 74 features a hybrid powertrain comprising a hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion electric battery. Together, they create a powertrain offering excellent acceleration capabilities. I saw a test driver bring the vehicle to 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 4 seconds.
- Travel range of up to 372 miles before needing to refuel
- 800-volt fast charging technology
- 671+ horsepower (combined) engine
- 664 pound-feet of torque
- 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds
- Top speed of 155+ mph
6) Honda CR-V FCEV
The Honda CR-V FCEV has gained less attention than its Japanese rival, the Toyota Mirai. However, this Honda hydrogen vehicle became a big hit with critics after its showcase debut in 2022. It has impressive promise with its powerful powertrain, spacious cabin, rugged exterior, and friendly driving dynamics.
Honda plans to start production on the CR-V in 2024 at their Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. According to a recent Honda-issued press release, the CR-V will be the first hydrogen vehicle produced in North America to offer two refueling options: hydrogen gas and electric battery charging. That way, motorists can rely on electric battery power if they cannot find a hydrogen fueling station in their area.
- 190-horsepower turbocharged engine (optional 204-horsepower hybrid version available)
- 40 miles per gallon for the hybrid version
- 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Four-way power passenger seat
- Plug-in and hydrogen gas energy options
7) Hyperion XP-1
I just recently heard of the Hyperion Motors auto brand. It is originally from California, but it has quickly expanded outside of California to Columbus, Ohio, due to its enormous popularity. It is at the Columbus facility where the company started production on the new hydrogen vehicle model, the Hyperion XP-1.
The Hyperion XP-1 is one of the most technologically sophisticated hydrogen vehicles I have ever seen. It contains four electric motors, 2,300+ horsepower, and NASA-created hydrogen storage technology. Due to its high-capacity fuel storage, it can travel much farther than most other hydrogen cars on the market.
- Can travel up to a whopping 1,000+ miles before needing to refuel
- NASA-created hydrogen storage technology
- Travel up to 221 mph
- Travel 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds
- Four electric motors & hydrogen fuel cells & supercapacitors
“I wish I could afford the $2 million+ price tag for this hydrogen vehicle because it looks out of this world!”
8) Toyota Hilux Hydrogen
Toyota continues working hard to compete in the zero-emissions vehicle market. The company’s latest prototype is the Toyota Hilux Hydrogen pickup truck. It will be produced at a Toyota factory in the United Kingdom, with more than $13 million in UK government funding to help the company complete production of the Toyota Hilux.
Toyota has not released too much information about the Hilux’s specifications. Based on my research, the Hilux prototype has 182 horsepower, 220 pounds of torque, an all-wheel drive, and a hybrid combination of three hydrogen fuel tanks and an electric motor and battery for power assistance. It also uses the same second-generation fuel cell components found in the drivetrain of the Toyota Mirai.
- Three high-pressure hydrogen fuel tanks
- Battery and electric motor power assistance
- 182 horsepower
- 220 pound-feet of torque
- Ability to travel up to 365 miles before needing to refuel
9) Land Rover Defender FCEV
Jaguar Land Rover cares about the environment tremendously. That is why the company has been experimenting with various zero-emission vehicle prototypes for quite some time now. Their ultimate goal is to create the perfect hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to achieve zero carbon emissions.
The Land Rover Defender FCEV is the highlight of the company’s prototype program. Jaguar Land Rover got partial funding for the project from the UK Government-funded organization called Advanced Propulsion Center. Since the UK government wishes to achieve net zero carbon emissions nationally by 2050, they are funding organizations to assist in this effort.
The Land Rover Defender prototype is still in its early stages of development, so little information is available. I will list below the information I do know. Some of it looks ambitious.
- 90 kW hydrogen fuel cell technology
- Delta Motorsport 600 kW high-output battery
- Two electric power units (147 kW total w/ 16.7 kWh capacity)
- Integrated control electronics
- Electric drive units
- Fuel cell stack
- High-pressure hydrogen storage tank
10) NamX HUV
NamX is another lesser-known hydrogen car concept manufacturer based in Italy. But one thing that I’ve noticed about smaller car companies is their desire to break barriers and develop the most innovative technology possible. That is why I have a lot of faith in the new hydrogen car concept called NamX HUV.
The NamX HUV harbors a hydrogen tank and six removable capsules for more accessible refueling capabilities. This patented technology allows motorists to store capsules of hydrogen fuel to ensure they have enough fuel available when no hydrogen fuel stations are around their area. With all six hydrogen capsules, you could drive up to 500 miles before refuelling. It is incredible if you ask me.
- Up to 550 horsepower
- Accelerate 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds
- Travel up to 155 mph
- Six removable hydrogen capsules
- Permanent hydrogen tank
“I think NamX figured out the perfect way to extend the driving range of a hydrogen car with their hydrogen capsule technology. I can’t wait to try it out someday.”
The best hydrogen car is the Hyperion XP-1 because it is the most powerful and technologically innovative hydrogen vehicle. However, if I win the lottery, I will be able to afford it. I’m sure you feel the same way.
Readers can trust the information that I have provided, as it aligns with established research from multiple credible sources. You have probably not seen most of these hydrogen cars on the road because they are still prototypes and concepts. It will take more consumer interest and demand before hydrogen cars become massively produced for the general public to purchase. This will likely happen because hydrogen cars are the future of the zero-emission vehicle market.