Hyundai’s latest concept car, the Hyundai 45 EV Concept unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, is a dramatic vision of a high-tech future. The body is sleek, the interior is spacious. In the cabin, controls are replaced by a projection-beam interface or integrated into the dashboard, lounge-like seats swivel so passengers can turn to face each other, while driverless technology means everyone can relax in comfort and safety. And of course, the drivetrain is fully electric, with motors and batteries positioned outside or below the cabin to maximize the space for passengers.
Unlike many concepts, however, the 45 EV is not some distant dream. Instead, it follows in Hyundai’s own tradition of looking at tech that already exists – either already in production or in development – and create a design that could, possibly, be turned into a showroom model.
“Our industry is going through a moment of profound change, and as a carmaker we must be obsessive about the idea of future mobility,” explains Mike Song, Hyundai’s Head of Operations for the Middle East and Africa.
“Production models already include electric drivetrains, self-driving technology, in-car systems that are constantly connected, with cameras and touchscreen displays replacing traditional mirrors and instruments. These technologies completely change the way the vehicle functions and drives. The next evolution will see them transform the fundamentals of vehicle design – repackaging and rearranging components in a way that would be impossible with an internal combustion engine.”
Hyundai is fully committed to engineering and design that advances sustainability while unlocking the full potential of technology, recognizing that a variety of approaches to future mobility are needed to achieve change.
Of the current model generation, IONIQ was the world’s first eco-car platform offered in a choice of hybrid, plug-in or fully electric options, fitting a range of different buyer needs. NEXO is Hyundai’s first platform engineered specifically for hydrogen fuel cells. Mainstream models, such as Sonata and KONA, also feature hybrid or electric versions in many markets.
“The market shift towards EVs is accelerating, with increasing demand built partly on environmental concerns, but also on a perception that electric power is now a desirable, premium choice in the showroom,” said Mike Song. “There is no longer any sense of compromise, with today’s eco-friendly models able to offer performance and range that makes them every bit as fun and practical as their petrol-powered alternatives.”
Beyond the powertrain, Hyundai is quickly moving premium tech from luxury and performance models into affordable city and family cars. Features such as cameras and active safety systems are now common additions to the latest models, either as options or, increasingly, as standard. Hyundai’s suite of SmartSense features includes Front Collision Warning System and a Lane Departure Warning system. Blind Spot Detection uses rear sensors to detect approaching traffic from behind or alongside and alert the driver with a visual or audio prompt. These combine to keep the driver’s eyes on the road ahead, as does the Head-up Display now available for several of the newest Hyundais. Even when the driver lapses, Autonomous Emergency Braking can step in to avoid a collision.
For convenience, enhanced connectivity seamlessly integrates infotainment systems with personal devices, and ensures in-car technologies work in perfect harmony with each other. It also opens the way to integrate cars into the urban environment through ‘smart city’ technologies, and potentially to other vehicles on the road. “Every new generation of Hyundai pushes cutting-edge technology forward into the mainstream,” said Mike Song. “The role of private cars is changing, with a growing number of people choosing to use ride-hailing or car-share services rather than own their own vehicle, which then stands unused most of its time. Autonomous vehicles will change this even further within the foreseeable future, leaving more of the vehicle’s total space for passenger comfort. Our concept vehicles are a window into this future, demonstrating what could be possible if we use emerging technologies to their full potential.”