PARIS: French aeronaut Bertrand Piccard has claimed a world record for the longest distance covered by a hydrogen-powered car on a single tank of fuel.
The adventurer drove 778km across France in the five-door Hyundai Nexo SUV, with a number of prominent passengers joining him for sections of the journey.
Passengers included the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and several prominent politicians among them French Economy minister Bruno Le Maire.
This is the furthest distance ever covered by a hydrogen-driven car after a Hyundai ix35 covered 653km on a single tank in 2016.
The Nexo is fitted with tanks of high-pressure hydrogen, which is mixed with air inside a fuel cell to create a chemical reaction that produces the electricity to the drive.
Hyundai said the journey was designed to promote hydrogen technology as a high-performance solution for future mobility.
Piccard left the FaHyence hydrogen station in Sarreguemines on Nov 25 and arrived the next day at the Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace in Le Bourget — a distance of 778 km.
This well exceeds the official one-tank benchmark of 660 for Nexo laid down under the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). It measures the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars, as well as their pollutant emissions.
Piccard is known for more thrilling challenges, including the first round-the-world trip in a balloon with the Breitling Orbiter and the first round-the-world trip in a solar plane with the Solar Impulse.
"With this adventure, we have proven that with clean technologies, we no longer need revolutionary experimental prototypes to break records," said Piccard.
"Everyone can now do it with standard zero-emission vehicles,” said the Frenchman.