In the early Aughts, Hyundai Motors were the brand possibly least associated with the words “performance” and “innovation.” However, that all changed in 2007 when Hyundai introduced something that flipped the narrative completely: the 10-year warranty. Overnight, Hyundai became known as the brand in the market that stood by their vehicles longer and with more confidence than any other manufacturer. In the last seven years alone, they have received more safety awards than any other brand, and the Hyundai Palisade has regularly been one of the Top 5 SUV’s on the market routinely beating out higher-priced, luxury-brands.
Today, Hyundai is changing their narrative again with the unveiling of two high-performance concept vehicles: the RN22e and the N Vision 74.
The N-line ‘Rolling Labs’
Most manufactures have high-performance sub-brands for R&D where engineers test the limits they can push a product. Toyota has Toyota Racing Division (TRD), Mercedes-Benz has AMG, and Ford has the Special Vehicle Team (SVT). Hyundai Motor’s high-performance N-line sub-brand is no different and the RN22e and the N Vision 74 are meant to demonstrate the company’s commitment to future-focused zero-emissions technologies.
Hyundai refers to these two concepts as ‘rolling labs,’ vessels by which Hyundai tests and verifies advanced technologies for application in future production models. The RN22e combines the all-new IONIQ 6 and Hyundai Motor’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E‑GMP), setting a new standard in high-performance EVs. The N Vision 74 combines EV technology with an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system, Hyundai N-line’s first-ever hydrogen hybrid. This is a vehicle squarely aimed at the performance automotive enthusiast market, and based on the initial response, it’s a bullseye.
As stated in the press release, Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Head of Customer Experience Division at Hyundai Motor Company says “RN22e and N Vision 74 play an important role in the strategic development of our entire product lineup, especially our electrified, high-performance vehicles. Rolling labs represent the continuous development of our most advanced technologies. This unique approach makes us ready for the challenges of the future by empowering us to push ourselves to the limit.”
The N Vision 74
We wouldn’t have expected a heritage-inspired Hyundai to yield something so lust-worthy, but perhaps that is because the vehicle that the N Vision 74 is based upon never saw the light of day. The N Vision 74 is an homage to the Hyundai Pony Coupe concept from 1974, developed by the legendary automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. The Pony Coupe concept was meant to inspire the design for Hyundai’s first-ever production sports car — a dream that didn’t become reality, having never made it to actual production.
Hyundai, you are better now than you were in 1974. Please don’t let this one go the way of the Pony Coupe.
With a fuel cell system and battery-electric powering the N Vision 74 together, this new system offers better cooling, and the two different power sources can be used depending on different driving conditions allowing for precise and responsive cornering experience powered by twin motors putting down over 900 Nm of torque to the rear wheels. Though the fate of the N Vision 74 is still unknown, we can already dream of a world where this high-performance hydrogen fuel cell hybrid could be driven up the Pacific Coast Highway, its parametric pixel lighting illuminating the road at dusk and the alien hum of the most-advanced hydrogen FCEV power plant Hyundai has ever tested reverberating off the rocky cliffs. Even the attention to detail in the cockpit — an artful blend of analog and digital components — screams that the N Vision 74 was built for drivers. Hyundai, you are better now than you were in 1974. Please don’t let this one go the way of the Pony Coupe.
In contrast to the dreamy N Vision 74, the RN22e feels more rooted in reality given the IONIQ 6-based platform being one that is on the road right now. The RN22e offers racetrack-ready performance by through the optimized E-GMP and an assortment of modifications such as 3-D printed parts for weight reduction and rigidity, a lower and wider stance, AWD, upgraded braking and regen systems, and optimized torque distribution drive modes that allows drivers to choose the torque power on the front and rear wheels.
Two other interesting features cater directly to driving enthusiasts: sound and haptic feedback. The RN22e provides N Sound+, generating sound from the interior and exterior speakers for a dynamic driving feel. In addition, N e-shift integrates the vibration and shifting feel with N Sound+.
These two concepts mean one thing for sure: Hyundai is doubling down on their commitment to changing their narrative. For a brand that was barely considered 15 years ago, concepts like the N Vision 74 and the RN22e are sure to make Hyundai Motors synonymous with both “performance and innovation” as we enter this next era of automotive engineering.