While the Nexo may be Hyundaiís best FCV to date, the economics around it is still puzzling. With previous fuel-cell vehicles we have seen automakers heavily rely on government-subsidized lease programs, but for the first time, Hyundai also plans to sell the Nexo outright.
With the first U.S. delivery taking place last week to a customer in Southern California, Hyundai has finalized the leasing terms for the Nexo. Both trims will be a 36-month lease, with the base model priced at $399 a month and the Limited at $449 a month. Although Hyundai will be limiting deliveries to SoCal for launch, other areas of the state are expected to follow.
A few weeks ago we learned that the Nexo Blue will start at $59,345 and the Nexo Limited will be set at $62,845. For comparison's sake, this is just $60 more than the official sticker price of the Toyota Mirai. Honda is not currently offering the Clarity Fuel Cell, but according to Green Car Reports, the 2019 model is expected to arrive by spring, with a $58,490 price tag.
Hyundai has also announced that they will be providing hydrogen fuelling cards, to offset some of the cost. They are to be used during the first 3 years of ownership and have been valued around $13,000. Given that hydrogen refueling can cost two to three times more than a tank of gas, we donít know how long thatíll last. The government's annual fuel costs are extremely optimistic, as they are based upon a $5.55/kg refill. Various stations across the state have seen it dispensing for as much as $17.49/kg.
As a California exclusive vehicle, interested buyers should note that the Nexo is eligible for a $5,000 California Clean Vehicle Rebate. Unfortunately, the federal tax credit, which went upwards of $8,000 expired at the end of 2017.
Hyundai remains committed to further developing this technology and they expect global demand to grow to nearly 2 million units by 2030. If fuel-cell vehicles can successfully enter the mass market, pricing should become far more approachable.
Even though the Nexo is an impressive engineering feat, there are many logistical hurdles that it still needs to overcome. Itís entry price, the cost of refueling and the lack of infrastructure in the U.S. all need to be improved. For now, itís a hard sell even for the most dedicated environmentalists.