It is no exaggeration to say that today’s sustainable car trend started with the declaration of carbon neutrality in countries with major automobile markets. Accordingly, Hyundai Motor’s high‒performance N brand paid attention to electrification for the next stage of internal combustion engines. And the automaker made a quicker and bolder investment than any other brand, and showed concrete results; The company has demonstrated its electrification motorsport know‒how with its race car, the Veloster N ETCR, and has been nurturing its electrification technology know‒how through their *Rolling lab ‒ transportable laboratory ‒ RM20e. The RN22e, unveiled in July of this year, heralds the electrified high‒performance experience of the IONIQ 5 N, which will debut in 2023. As such, for the N brand, electrification is no longer a plan for the distant future, but a reality to come.
*Rolling lab: A vehicle that conducts R&D and verification before applying high‒performance technology inspired by motorsports and specific electrification technologies to mass‒produced models.
Here is another result of the sustainable trend ‒ N brand’s new rolling lab, ‘N Vision 74’. It differs from the current rolling lab series such as the RM20e and RN22e in several ways. The biggest distinction is that the N Vision 74 is the N brand’s first hydrogen‒hybrid rolling lab. Another difference ‒ as shown in the core parts of N Vision 74, such as design and technology ‒ is that it contains the past, present, and future of Hyundai Motor Company, which wants to make sustainable high‒performance automobiles.
Above all, the N Vision 74 reflects Hyundai’s commitment to developing a sports car that has been going on for decades. In addition, it is the latest result of the efforts and passion of Hyundai Motor, which has been steadily developing high‒performance, hydrogen hybrid vehicles. In other words, the N Vision 74 is a high‒performance hydrogen‒electric hybrid vehicle that encompasses Hyundai’s past, present, and future.
Before unveiling the N Vision 74, Hyundai Motor Company has been focusing on developing high‒performance, sustainable vehicles powered by hydrogen for a long time. And the result was unveiled at the launch of the N brand at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show ‒ the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept. The technology it presented seven years ago was innovative. Breaking away from the prevailing stereotype that the internal combustion engine is the power source for high‒performance automobiles, the automaker presented a new concept of a high‒performance, sustainable vehicle based on a hydrogen fuel cell.
The N Vision 74 is the latest drivable product that reflects the efforts and passion of Hyundai Motor Company, which has been steadily developing high‒performance, sustainable hydrogen electric vehicles. But that’s not all about the N Vision 74. It also has the design and heritage of the ‘Pony Coupe concept,’ the first sports car in Korea that was unveiled in 1974. The important point here is that the Pony Coupe concept was not just a show car to boast its design, but a prototype that was prepared for mass production with the automaker’s challenger spirit. Although the model did not reach production in the end, Hyundai’s passion for developing high‒performance cars is still present in the N Vision 74 today.
The design of the N Vision 74 is not like the previous Hyundai cars, the N brand, or the Rolling lab series. This shows the design and heritage of the past Pony Coupe concept. Accordingly, the N Vision 74 boasts a classic yet futuristic look.
At the Turin Motor Show in October 1974, Hyundai presented the Pony Coupe concept, which became the basis of the N Vision 74 design, to the world for the first time. Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design, one of the best car designers of the time, took charge of the design, and Hyundai Motor’s engineers poured effort and passion into this concept.
The DNA of the timeless Pony Coupe concept has crossed decades and melted into the design of the N Vision 74. The purity of the Pony Coupe concept, the dynamic proportions of the side silhouette, and the special B‒pillar design have been newly inherited by the N Vision 74, with motorsport‒inspired details added. In particular, the side intake, huge rear wing, and dynamic volume fenders complete the N Vision 74’s unique design while hinting at its robust high‒performance.
The front and rear parts are also full of homage to the Pony Coupe concept and a future‒oriented reinterpretation of it. For example, the rectangular headlamps and rear lamps, the symbols of the Pony Coupe concept, have been reinterpreted with the parametric pixel design, Hyundai’s latest design identity. In addition, the N Vision 74’s unique design features are perfected by adding a front splitter and a rear diffuser to enhance aerodynamic performance suitable for a high‒performance car.
In terms of technology and design, the N Vision 74 shows an innovative look worthy of the name ‒ Rolling lab. Although the N Vision 74 uses a hydrogen‒electric hybrid drivetrain, it boasts a system configuration different from general hydrogen fuel cell or battery‒based electric vehicles. In particular, unlike the existing hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that uses an integrated hydrogen fuel cell stack and motor, the N Vision 74 separates the two. This is to improve cooling control and airflow and to integrate the driving battery with the body structure. Accordingly, a hydrogen fuel cell stack was mounted on the front axle of the N Vision 74, and a drive motor and two 2.1kg hydrogen tanks were placed on the rear axle. And the battery is arranged in a T‒shape in the center of the body.
The hydrogen electric hybrid system mounted on the N Vision 74 has a high energy density to weight ratio. In addition, by combining fuel cell technology, which boasts fast charging in less than 5 minutes, and 800V battery fast charging technology, the charging speed, which is a fatal disadvantage of sustainable electric vehicles, has been improved. In addition, by using hydrogen fuel cells, the single‒charge range is relatively increased compared to electric vehicles.
Derived from the idea to solve the problems of current sustainable high‒performance cars, the N Vision 74 gets power from a hydrogen fuel cell with a capacity of 85kW and a driving battery with a capacity of 62.4kWh. In addition, the rear wheels are driven using two driving motors with maximum output and maximum torque of 500kW (about 680 horsepower) and 900 Nm, respectively. In order to maximize the structural advantage of two powerful electric motors mounted on the rear wheel, the N Vision 74 housed the twin motor torque vectoring control system developed through the RM20e. As a result, it was possible to significantly improve turning power and handling performance by distributing power to the rear wheels in an extreme way. It can also drift, which is unusual for hydrogen‒powered electric cars.
In order to effectively use the N Vision 74’s new drive system, Hyundai has newly developed a control strategy that integrates fuel cell and battery; It uses hydrogen fuel as a basic power source and uses the output from the battery as a boost. As a result, the N Vision 74 boasts incredible acceleration, reaching 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds and a top speed of over 250 km/h. While demonstrating such high performance, it has secured a long driving range of more than 600 km by maintaining the remaining battery power through hydrogen power generation.
There is another technology that stands out from the N Vision 74. Since complex drive systems are required for its high performance, efficient thermal management in harsh driving conditions ‒ such as track driving ‒ is essential. To solve this issue, Hyundai has developed a three‒channel independent cooling system that includes a fuel cell stack, a battery, a PE module with motors, and reducers. This enables efficient and fast thermal management, which ensures sustained performance in harsh driving conditions.
In the meantime, Hyundai Motor Company has introduced many Rolling lab series, but none has received as much attention as the N Vision 74. Its design and powerful performance are attracting attention ‒ as is the fact that these elements may one day be mass‒produced. This is because the various advanced technologies and design possibilities of N Vision 74 as a Rolling lab can be reflected in the mass production model. As long as Hyundai and Rolling lab’s passion for high‒performance cars last, we’ll soon be able to see vehicles like the N Vision 74 on the road.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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