Hyundai’s first concept car has previewed its latest motor show special, a retro-styled coupe powered by a 500kW hydrogen fuel-cell system.
The Hyundai N Vision 74 high-performance coupe concept has been revealed, providing Hyundai’s clearest indication yet that hydrogen fuel cells have performance-car potential.
Officially, the RN22e and the N Vision 74 are ‘rolling lab concepts’, vehicles that Hyundai uses to test and validate future technologies.
The N Vision 74 is said to provide a vision of “the future of hydrogen-based high performance” – but expect said future to look slightly different, as in its current form, Hyundai has no plans to build the concept.
Its name and styling pay homage to the Hyundai Pony Coupe, a 1974 concept car penned by iconic designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, which Hyundai says marked the beginning of Hyundai’s design journey.
“N Vision 74 elevates the daring attitude of the Pony Coupe concept into a future Hyundai design, while reinterpreting the interior as an entertaining space without losing the pure architecture of the Pony Coupe concept.”
The N Vision 74 – also said to be inspired by the virtual N Vision 2025 concept supplied to the Gran Turismo game franchise – has a driver-centric cockpit which blends heritage and modern design. But it’s what’s under the skin that’s most interesting.
The rear-drive N Vision 74 features Hyundai’s most advanced hydrogen fuel-cell (FCEV) system to date, with a 62.4kWh battery pack and “more than 500kW and 900Nm”.
Twin electric motors – one for each rear wheel – are said to provide better torque vectoring, allowing for “a more precise and responsive cornering experience”.
Hyundai says this unique packaging of hydrogen fuel cells with a large, long-range battery means the vehicle can be driven by either or both power sources as the situation demands.
Current fuel-cell vehicles use a small battery pack (about 2kWh) to smooth out power supply from the hydrogen fuel cell, rather than provide long-distance battery-electric (BEV) range – instead relying on the hydrogen tank for long trips.
In the N Vision 74, the vehicle has long-range BEV capabilities, and can then be refuelled in five minutes at a hydrogen station. The car offers a 85kW fuel-cell stack and 4.2kg hydrogen tank.
Hyundai claims the vehicle has a range of 600km, and can achieve a top speed beyond 250km/h.
No 0-100km/h time has been disclosed, but it’s unlikely to match that of the all-wheel-drive Ioniq 5 N and related Kia EV6 GT’s potential 3.5-second dash.
Hyundai says the concept’s FCEV system is placed in a new layout, which has a three-channel cooling system that’s said to improve efficiency.
Sadly, there are no current plans for the Hyundai N Vision 74 to enter production.
Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best-known motoring journalists having spent the last 25 years reporting on cars on radio, TV, web and print. He’s a former editor of Wheels, Australia’s most respected car magazine, and was deputy editor of Drive.com.au before that. Glenn’s also worked at an executive level for two of Australia’s most prominent car companies, so he understands how much care and consideration goes into designing and developing new cars. As a journalist, he’s driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats on all continents except Antarctica (which he one day hopes to achieve) and loves discovering each car’s unique personality and strengths. Glenn knows a car’s price isn’t indicative of its competence, and even the cheapest car can enhance your life and expand your horizons.