Hyundai Canada launches NEXO and becomes first manufacturer to provide fuel cell tech in Canada
Hyundai Auto Canada Corporation has announced the national launch of the first-ever NEXO, Canada's only fuel cell-powered SUV and the first vehicle of its kind to be made easily accessible to consumers. By collaborating with Modo, the first Vancouver-based carsharing co-operative of its kind, NEXO will bring fuel cell technology to a much wider audience than before.
Modo will make two NEXO vehicles available for consumer use in the coming weeks through its carsharing services. With a focus on people, not profits, Modo serves more than 22,000 members; with 700 cars, trucks, SUVs, vans and more.
NEXO is powered by hydrogen, a fully sustainable energy source, which allows the vehicle to emit clean water vapor and purify the air as it is being driven. This technology also provides the vehicle with superior range conservation in cold climates compared to other battery electric powertrains, making them particularly resilient for Canadian winters. A five minute refill will also carry drivers for up to 570km.
Modo will make two NEXO vehicles available through its carsharing services, and provide Canadian drivers with unparalleled access to fuel cell vehicles. Hyundai will also be the first to make fuel cell vehicles available for retail sale through select local dealerships.
- Canada aims to bring in new regulatory framework for cryptocurrency
- Mitsubishi Motors Canada announces its new President and CEO
- Government of Canada unveils its plans to transform Edmonton's light rail transit network
- Click here to read the March edition of Canada Business Chief
"Hydrogen vehicles are the most promising type of alternative powertrain transportation in existence today. It's important for us to make innovative green technologies like NEXO readily available for Canadians to ensure a sustainable future," said Don Romano, President and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada Corp in a recent press release. "We're thrilled to launch NEXO in B.C, as the province is a leader in implementing important sustainability initiatives and is aligned with our vision of introducing new means of clean mobility."
Hyundai remains the only automaker in Canada to offer vehicles with four electrified powertrains including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell. With the launch of NEXO, it will become the only automotive manufacturer in Canada to offer a second generation fuel cell vehicle – the first being the Tucson Fuel Cell which launched in 2015.
"We are excited to be the first carshare to offer consumers the opportunity to experience a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle for themselves," commented Patrick Nangle, CEO of Modo. "Supporting a cleaner BC aligns with Modo's social and environmental purpose as a member-owned co-operative. We are grateful to Hyundai Canada and the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association for their financial contribution in making this possible."
While hydrogen fueling infrastructure is still in the early stages of development, Vancouver is home to one of Canada's only public refueling stations located in the city's Marpole neighborhood. Members of the public interested in test-driving NEXO will have the opportunity at the Vancouver International Auto Show, which runs from March 19-24.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.