Before we go any further, we’re forced to proclaim that you should not try this at home. We say that because there are very few Hyundai Nexos in the world compared to millions of standard vehicles with internal combustion engines. This video depicts an SUV belching its exhaust into a bubble with a person running on a treadmill, so based on the visuals alone, this sort of thing will kill you right and proper.
That said, why isn’t the athlete in this video from Hyundai’s Spanish YouTube channel turning blue from lack of oxygen? She’s actually breathing plenty of oxygen in that little bubble. In fact, she’s getting purified oxygen that’s probably cleaner than the air you’re breathing right now. The vehicle connected to the bubble is a Hyundai Nexo, which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells instead of petrol or diesel.
In short, the Nexo breaks down hydrogen to produce electricity for its front-mount electric motor. The by-product of this process is water vapor, and the Nexo also purifies the air – two things the human body needs more than anything else. And since the woman running inside the bubble is Spanish swimmer and Olympic champion Mireia Belmonte, presumably she knows a thing or two about staying healthy.
Gallery: 2019 Hyundai Nexo first drive
This demonstration certainly showcases the benefits of hydrogen-powered vehicles, which can generate electricity for electric power without the need for heavy, expensive battery packs. Hydrogen fuel cells can also be refilled in a few minutes, much like the familiar internal-combustion cars in use literally everywhere. Why, then, hasn’t hydrogen taken off in the same manner as battery-electric vehicles? That’s a good question, but hydrogen does have the tendency to explode under certain conditions, and it’s not as easy to handle as petrol. Hydrogen fuel cells also struggle to work in cold temperatures, though Hyundai says the Nexo’s system can start and function at -30F (-34C) degrees.
With battery technology and recharging speeds rapidly evolving, is there a future for Hydrogen fuel cells in vehicles? Only time will tell.