Balloonist Bertrand Piccard breaks world distance record for a hydrogen-powered vehicle in a Hyundai Nexo

  • Balloonist Bertrand Piccard drove 778 km across France in a Hyundai NEXO, breaking the world record for the longest distance driven in a hydrogen-powered vehicle on a single tank
  • A number of prominent passengers joined him for parts of the journey, including the CEO of Air Liquide, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and several prominent politicians
  • The purpose of the journey was to promote hydrogen technology as a high-performance solution for future mobility

French aeronaut and president of the Solar Impulse Foundation Bertrand Piccard has broken the world record for the longest distance traveled in a hydrogen-powered vehicle on a single refueling. Driving in a Hyundai Nexo, Piccard left the FaHyence hydrogen station in Sarreguemines on Monday 25 November, a place chosen because of the Grand Est Region's commitment to responsible mobility, and arrived the next day at the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace in Le Bourget – a distance of 778 km. Never before has a production car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell covered so many kilometres on a single charge.

Accustomed to extraordinary challenges, including the first round-the-world trip in a balloon with Breitling Orbiter and the first round-the-world trip in a solar plane with Solar Impulse, this time Bertrand Piccard was able to take passengers along on this adventure. This was an opportunity for the adventurer and his guests to discover a new generation of car, to share their experiences in terms of environmental protection and to compare their points of view on sustainable development and mobility.

In the passenger seat alongside Bertrand Piccard were:

  • Jean Rottner, President of the Grand Est Region (French)
  • Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
  • Michel Delpon, MP for the Dordogne and President of the Hydrogen Study Group at National Assembly (French)
  • Benoît Potier, CEO of Air Liquide (French)
  • Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance (French)
  • Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition (French)
  • H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco

Arrival of record was celebrated in the setting of ‘’Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace’’ in Le Bourget, a reference to Bertrand Piccard's aerial exploits. In his capacity as the new world distance record holder with a hydrogen vehicle, Bertrand Piccard, and Lionel French-Keogh, Managing Director of Hyundai Motor France, spoke in turn.

"With this adventure, we have proven that with clean technologies, we no longer need revolutionary experimental prototypes to break records. Everyone can now do it with standard zero-emission vehicles,” said Piccard. “A new era in performance is beginning, for the benefit of environmental protection”.

Lionel French-Keogh, Managing Director of Hyundai Motor France, continued:

"While some may doubt the relevance of hydrogen in tomorrow’s cars, we at Hyundai have believed in it since 1998, when we began our developments on this technology. Thanks to this record set by Bertrand Piccard, all doubt has been dispelled. As well as being listened to worldwide, Bertrand is a charismatic character who knows better than anyone how to raise awareness of climate issues. We share with him the conviction that it is possible to change our consumption in a sustainable way and hydrogen is an answer to this issue. We see respect for the environment as a vector for growth and not as an obstacle to innovation.”

As the first car manufacturer to mass produce hydrogen-powered vehicles, Hyundai is actively preparing for tomorrow's zero emission mobility. Avoiding any dogmatic position on alternative energies, the brand is already responding to current changes in the car market by offering the widest choice of electrified powertrains on the market.

Bertrand Piccard is committed to the planet through the challenge of 1000 Efficient and Profitable Solutions to Protect the Environment, which he initiated with the Solar Impulse Foundation. Hyundai Motor France shares the same vision of sustainable growth and has used him as its ambassador since 2017.

Hyundai Motor France and Bertrand Piccard organised a major conference in Paris in September 2018, which, for the first time brought together all the players in the hydrogen sector in France.
 

Record key figures:
 
  • Number of kilometers traveled: 778km
  • Remaining range displayed on the counter: 49km
  • Air purification: 404.6 kL, the volume of air that 23 adults breathe every day
  • CO2 reduction: 111.2 kg, the amount of gas emitted by vehicles of the same category over 778km.

 

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