Despite hydrogen fuel cell equipped cars and trucks having been around for several years now, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has never actually crash tested one. Hyundai wanted to be the first, apparently, and they threw down the gauntlet by offering the IIHS an first early opportunity to evaluate a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle just as the NEXO starts to reach dealers in California— and scoring the firm’s highest possible safety rating. (!)
“Hyundai and its engineering team continue to make vehicles even safer with the addition of active standard safety features, prioritizing cutting-edge safety and convenience at the forefront of the driving experience,” explained Scott Margason, director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. And, for those of you who like to read between the lines when you read press releases from huge, multi-billion dollar conglomerates, what he’s actually saying is this: hydrogen-powered cars are safe, and they will not explode if you have an accident in one.
That “will not explode” is a hugely important message to get across to a general public that has, for the most part, kind of forgotten that gasoline explodes and burns. At least, that’s how it seems when I see the hysteria that follows an electric car fire. With that in mind, then, pushing for an independent, third party firm like the IIHS to essentially endorse the NEXO by giving it a Top Safety Pick + rating could just be a market-defining coup that will put Hyundai at the front of the hydrogen revolution.
Or, you know, at least make for a good press release.
Speaking of press releases, you can read Hyundai’s official release covering the NEXO’s IIHS crash test, below, and check out a few pictures of the car, itself, while you’re there. Once that’s done, let us know how you’d feel about riding around in a hydrogen-powered EV in the comments section at the bottom of the page– and don’t forget to let us know whether or not a good safety rating influences your opinion about “the hydrogen future”, too!
Hyundai NEXO Fuel Cell SUV Earns Top Safety Pick+ Award from IIHS
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — The 2019 Hyundai NEXO hydrogen fuel cell electric SUV has earned a TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for vehicles built after June 2019. The NEXO, which is only available in California, is the first such hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that IIHS has tested. A vehicle such as NEXO would not normally be included in the IIHS routine test schedule, but Hyundai nominated its own NEXO for early testing. Evaluating the NEXO was also beneficial to IIHS, by offering its first early opportunity to evaluate a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
To qualify for a 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also needs an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good headlight rating. The Hyundai NEXO, a midsize premium SUV, has good ratings in all six crashworthiness tests.
Its standard front crash prevention system earned a superior rating. The vehicle avoided collisions in 12 mph and 25 mph track tests and has a forward collision warning system that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria. In addition, NEXO comes with standard high-beam assist, which may automatically switch between high beams and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles.
“Hyundai and its engineering team continue to make vehicles even safer with the addition of active standard safety features, prioritizing cutting-edge safety and convenience at the forefront of the driving experience,” said Scott Margason, director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Our NEXO further emphasizes this priority on safety, with generous driver-assistance technologies and excellent passenger protection in a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.”