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A Spanish Swim Star Does a Special Treadmill Workout


Can a world-class athlete perform physical activities while inhaling automobile exhaust? Hyundai’s quirky new video campaign introduces how this is possible with the eco-friendly charm of the NEXO.

Refreshing breath of air is the last thing we think of when we look at the exhaust pipe of a car. In fact, we are taught that whatever comes out of the tailpipe is harmful to one’s well-being. However, Hyundai launched a video campaign which runs completely against this conventional wisdom. In the video, a large hermetically sealed bubble capsule is hooked up to the exhaust of the NEXO. Inside the bubble is a treadmill, and on that treadmill is an athlete, running! The video would not have been possible with a vehicle any other than the Hyundai NEXO. Let’s take a look at the NEXO, Hyundai Motor Group’s next-generation eco-friendly car, and just how a world-class athlete can run on fumes.

Hyundai launched a campaign to showcase NEXO’s outstanding environment-friendliness

The contents of the video may have shocked some people. Not only is an athlete running inside a sealed bubble, but the bubble is connected to an automobile emitting exhaust. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the automobile does not run on a conventional internal combustion engine. In fact, the SUV in the video is the NEXO, the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell EV.

The video begins with the appearance of an athletically dressed woman in a place which appears to be a research lab. The woman steps unto the treadmill, as the NEXO is cross-edited and shown on screen. The NEXO’s ignition turns with the press of a button, and the athlete is now running on the treadmill with sensors attached to her body.

The NEXO’s infotainment display shows the operation of the hydrogen fuel-cell

The athlete runs hard; hard enough to break a sweat, and the NEXO’s infotainment display shows how the batteries are charged from the power from the hydrogen cell. While the athlete is running, a man is closely monitoring her vital signs in real time. So far, this is all very confusing. What is the connection between the NEXO and the athletic woman? Here is the twist. The NEXO’s exhaust is connected to the balloon-like capsule which the athlete running inside. The whole time, she had been breathing exhaust from the NEXO.

The woman on the treadmill inside the bubble is none other than Mireia Belmonte, Spain’s Olympic champion swimmer. She was the 200m Women’s Butterfly gold medalist at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The man who appears in the video is also not an actor, but Dr. Vincent De la Varga Salto, director of the Camde Sports Medical Center (Centro Médico Deportivo Camde). He kept a watchful eye over Belmonte’s vital signs to ensure her safety while she ran on fumes. As surprising as the demonstration was, it hoped to send an honest and professional message, and that was why a professional athlete and a medical specialist were featured for the demonstration.

The NEXO’s fuel-cell power train is what enables eco-friendly driving

NEXO is known as the most environmentally friendly vehicle, and the video proves that the NEXO’s exhaust is entirely harmless to our body. It does not emit pollutants or even carbon dioxide, but only pure water and clean air.

Hydrogen and oxygen react to generate electricity, creating water as a byproduct

The NEXO earned its green reputation thanks to how the hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain works. More specifically, the hydrogen fuel-cell generates electricity, and that electricity drives the electric motor, which turns the wheels. The fuel cell generates energy and water by oxidizing the hydrogen supplied from a hydrogen tank, generating electrical energy. Ensuring longevity of the fuel-cell requires clean air uptake, because the energy-producing hydrogen-cell reaction requires pure oxygen. As such, FCEVs are capable of air purification.

The NEXO purifies its air intake over three steps. The first step involves an air filter that collects particulate matter and chemicals. Greater than 97% of fine particulate matter in the air is scrubbed in this first step. The second step further purifies the air by passing it through a membrane humidifier. The micro-ridged membrane humidifier has a surface area of 25 sqm, scrubbing virtually all remaining particulate matter. The last step scrubs air through a GDL (gas diffusion layer, passes air to the fuel-cell). Air passing through the GDL’s microporous structure within the fuel-cell stack is cleansed of 99.9% of fine particulate matter.

The bubble capsule is connected to the NEXO’s exhaust, and filled with perfectly breathable, purified air

The NEXO’s advanced air purification system delivers pollutant-free oxygen to the fuel-cells, and when the reaction is complete, only clean breathable air is emitted. This means that the air inside the capsule, the air that comes from the exhaust of the NEXO, is perfectly purified, breathable air. That was how Mireia Belmonte was able to run to her heart’s extent on the treadmill within the capsule.

At the 2018 CES Asia, Hyundai NEXO garnered plenty of attention through its air-purification demonstration

The NEXO showcased its air-purification ability at various other opportunities too. 2018 CES Asia was hosted in Shanghai, and Hyundai presented the air-purification capacity of the NEXO under the theme of Future Hydrogen Society, and captured the attention of Chinese consumers who had been dealing with air-quality issues. At the 2019 Seoul Motor Show, Hyundai presented the ‘NEXO Village’ and showcased the amazing eco-friendliness of the NEXO. As part of the showcase, the ‘NEXO Garden’ was irrigated from the byproduct water from the NEXO, and visitors were able to see the entire air-scrubbing and purification process through a device at the venue.

The video campaign had a responsive European viewership

The NEXO’s video campaign was featured on Hyundai’s official channel for Spain and caught the attention of a broad European viewership. The mind-blowing concept of ‘running on fumes’ certainly caught the attention of viewers and left an impression about the outstanding air-cleansing capability of the NEXO, as well as its eco-friendliness. The NEXO is appealing for diverse reasons, and this video campaign certainly spotlighted one of them. The moniker ‘air purifier on wheels ‘ appears to be more than appropriate.