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Hyundai’s time has come

3 months ago

Writer:

Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder

Date:

15 July 2022

Are there any conclusions to be drawn from BMW confirming it will charge customers a subscription fee to use certain features like heated seats, while in the same week Hyundai has revealed two mouth-watering concepts and confirmed there’ll be a hot version of its Ioniq 5 EV?

I’m sure Munich will punch back, but for now it feels as though the stuff that’s coming out of the Far East might be showing the Europeans what delighting customers is all about.

Let’s deal with the RN22e first, because it’s probably the less exciting of Hyundai’s two concepts. It uses the company’s new high-performance electric architecture (dubbed Electric-Global Modular Platform) within the ‘streamliner’ body of its recently unveiled Ioniq 6. It’ll be a rolling test bed, a way for Hyundai to prove and demonstrate its 580bhp, twin-motor electric hardware ahead of the arrival of a showroom version in the not too distant future.

But what of the N Vision 74, the hydrogen-powered coupé that looks like it belongs on the set of an Eighties action movie? I don’t think we’ll see a more striking concept car this year, which highlights just how far Hyundai has come since it was busy producing dreary diesel hatchbacks only a couple of decades ago. The 74 in its name references the year 1974, when Hyundai showed off the Pony Coupe concept by Giugiaro that sadly never made production.

The N Vision 74 is inspired by a Hyundai concept from the Seventies

Like the RN22e it’s a rolling lab, but for hydrogen fuel cell technology. It too previews a high-performance car, one with 670bhp via two electric motors, each one powering a rear wheel. No wonder the launch imagery shows the car in lurid powerslides. The powertrain is a hybrid of sorts, combining a fuel cell with a sizeable 62.4kWh battery, meaning ‘the two different power sources can be used depending on different driving conditions,’ says Hyundai.

It’s a novel solution, in theory offering the benefits of a battery-electric vehicle on the one hand with the fast refuelling of a hydrogen vehicle on the other (as long as you can get to a hydrogen filling station). We’ll see how far Hyundai chooses to develop this powertrain, but what’s clear to me right here and now is that this once dowdy Korean car maker will soon be producing cars with just as much want-one factor as any comparable European manufacturer.

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