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Hyundai NEXO FCEV and Kona electric CUV win spots in 2019 WardsAuto 10 Best Engines

Hyundai has taken two out of the ten spots in the 2019 WardsAuto 10 Best Engine competition with the all-new 2019 NEXO FCEV fuel cell vehicle and 2019 Kona Electric CUV. (Earlier post.) This marks the tenth time Hyundai has earned a WardsAuto 10 Best Engine recognition since the awards’ annual inception in 1995.


Kona Electric



It is a true honor to have two of our all-new eco-friendly engine applications receive this prestigious award as it underscores Hyundai’s momentum toward having the industry’s most diverse CUV powertrain lineup.

The endless hours of research, evaluation and real-world analysis by our engineering community has effectively raised the bar for alternative fuel applications. We are very proud of what has been achieved in this highly competitive marketplace. We are committed to providing smart, alternative fuel solutions for car buyers, and look forward to continue growing our eco-vehicle portfolio.

—John Juriga, director, Powertrains, Hyundai America Technical Center, Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Company plans to introduce 18 models by 2025. NEXO leads Hyundai Motor’s plans in development of zero-emission vehicles. This new development plan also represents the next step for Hyundai Motor Group toward realizing a cleaner environment via advanced eco-friendly vehicles.

The NEXO is Hyundai’s flagship vehicle and improves upon the Tucson FCEV. The NEXO Blue model has an estimated driving range of 380 miles, 115 more than its predecessor. The NEXO Limited trim has an estimated range of 354 miles. NEXO Blue models have estimated MPGe of 65 city, 58 highway and 61 combined, while NEXO Limited models have an estimated MPGe of 59 city, 54 highway, and 57 combined.

The NEXO can be refueled in as little as five minutes, allowing a consumer lifestyle very similar to a comparable gasoline-powered SUV in terms of range and refueling speed. NEXO hydrogen storage uses three separate hydrogen tanks in the rear of the vehicle. These are configured to maximize overall interior volume, especially in the rear cargo area, increasing it by 5.8 cubic feet and allowing for a flatter load floor. With 161 peak horse-power (120 kW) and 291 lb.-ft. of torque, acceleration and power have also increased to improve NEXO overall performance.

The 2019 Kona Electric offers 258 miles of range. The new electric CUV offers youthful design, sporty driving character, leading safety technology and advanced infotainment features in an affordable, compact footprint along with an abundant suite of standard safety equipment. Additionally, the Kona’s Electric battery is covered by Hyundai’s industry leading Lifetime Battery Warranty.

The Kona Electric powertrain employs a high-efficiency 150 kW (201 horsepower) permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor supplied by a high-voltage 64 kWh lithium-ion battery. The motor develops 291 lb.ft. of torque distributed to the front wheels.

The powertrain inverter has a power density of 25.4 kVA per liter. The battery system is liquid cooled and operates at 356 volts. Battery pack energy density is 141.3 Wh/kg (greater than Chevy Bolt), with a total battery system weight under 1,000 lbs. In addition, Kona Electric EPA estimated MPGe is 132 city, 108 highway, and 120 combined.

This is the 25th year for WardsAuto 10 Best Engines, a competition created to recognize outstanding powertrain achievement, world-class technologies and those rare engines or electric propulsion systems that are so compelling that they help sell the vehicle. This year, 34 entries were competing for the recognition and were chosen from 2018 and 2019 model year vehicles. To be eligible, a new or significantly modified engine or propulsion system must be on sale in a production vehicle during the first quarter of 2019, with a base price capped at $64,000.

Since the list began in 1995, Hyundai has been honored ten times: the Tau V-8 was in 2009 (4.6-liter), 2010 (4.6-liter) and 2011 (5.0-liter); the Gamma I-4 in 2012; the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in 2015; the Nu (2.0-liter plug-in Hybrid) in 2016; the four-cylinder Turbocharged DOHC (1.4-liter); and the (3.3-liter) in 2018.

The 2019 awards ceremony will take place at a banquet during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.



A near 400 miles FCEV vehicle is interesting. Stopping every 350/400 miles for a 5 minutes refill is close to ideal?


The battery version can boast 20% more power out and better than double the energy efficiency of the fuel cell.
If the owner can supply re charging and even V2G that setup could be seen as cutting edge technology.


"350/400 miles for a 5 minutes refill is close to ideal"

does that include the time to find a h2 filling station?


I have a Kona EV and for what it's worth have measured the battery efficiency at 89% over the charge range of about 30-90%, charging exclusively at 7.4kW in favorable ambient conditions.


Fuel cells in cars may not be the way, but as range extenders in buses and trucks they could work. There are routes that require longer range, you don't want to carry tons of batteries.


You could add up to date modern e-passenger trains, specially where electrified railroads are not (yet) installed/available in USA and Canada.

FC trains are being developed in Germany and England.

H2 very fast refill stations could be built at every 1000 KM or so and could also serve to supply trucks and buses with green H2. Energy to produce the green H2 could be supplied from local (Wind/Solar) REs as a package deal.

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