Hyundai’s 45 EV Concept Cabin Looks Like Your IKEA Living Room

Hyundai didn’t come empty-handed to this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The Koreans fielded a strong stand that covered a lot of niches, yet it was the 45 EV concept that caught the eye. Believe it or not, back in 1974, Hyundai worked with Giorgetto Giugiaro on the Pony Coupe Concept, a wedge-shaped car that would ultimately inspire the DMC DeLorean.

The year is 2019 and 45 years later, Hyundai is looking back at the Pony Coupe Concept for its most recent prototype, the suggestively-named 45 EV. Well, we’re sure you’ve guessed its purpose by now, but we’ll say it nonetheless: this is Hyundai’s take on what the future holds for autonomous and electric vehicles in terms of exterior and interior design.

Exterior

  • LED battery meter on the front doors
  • Design inspired by 1920s aircraft
  • Fastback shape with generous ground clearance
2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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Hyundai developed the 45 EV concept on a monocoque-style body that places great emphasis on aerodynamics and lightweight materials - that’s only natural, since these two traits are essential for a successful electric car, as they do a world of good to its overall range and efficiency.

We’re also told that Hyundai’s designers took inspiration from the aircraft of the 1920s.

We don’t know about that, but there’s a very pronounced diamond-like silhouette created by those angular shapes in the front and in the rear which suits the sci-fi flavor of the concept quite nicely.

Since this is a pure electric prototype, there’s no need for a front grille. However, that means more space for the designers to work with, and in this regard, Hyundai balanced the front end with what it calls “kinetic cube lamps.” They were used to “evoke analog emotions,” and while we’re not sure what that means, they do look good and that’s what matters most.

Viewed from the side, Hyundai’s 45 EV concept looks like a fastback on stilts - a shape we’ve seen so much in recent times that it has become the norm. Hyundai, however, reinterpreted it via a thin A-pillar, a non-existent B-pillar and a rather thick, triangle-shaped C-pillar that adds more meat on the concept’s hips, making it look like it’s about to pounce.

2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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Perhaps the neatest detail found on the 45 EV concept has to do with the LED strips positioned on the low end of the front doors.

These are, in fact, battery meters — a minimalistic way of letting drivers know just how much energy is left in the battery pack. The exterior cake is iced by a hidden monitoring system which hints at Hyundai’s future autonomous goals and cameras that replace the classic side mirrors. Another trick to be noted here: the side cameras use an embedded turntable module that rotates the lens against a brush, so you’ll never have trouble seeing what’s happening behind and around the car due to dirt or dust.

Interior

  • Cozy, home-like vibe
  • Use of materials such as wood, leather, and fabric
  • Holographic infotainment technology
2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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Since the 45 EV is looking at the future of electric AND autonomous cars, the cockpit is no longer your driving space but a living space.

There are plenty of wood inserts that will back that claim up, and after a good look at the cabin, it’s even easier to spot how much furniture design has gone into its styling cues. Other than wood, occupants are greeted by leather and fabric, while the front passenger gets his or her own digital area embedded in the wood trim.

Speaking of wood, you’ll find this particular material on the lower board that runs beneath the dashboard but also on the lounge-style seat shells. Needless to say, the front seats can rotate to face the rear seats once the 45 EV enters self-driving mode. What’s more, the infotainment system ditches the touchscreen and allows interaction via a holographic interface projected inside the cabin. The lack of a center-mounted touchscreen allowed Hyundai’s interior designers to fit the cabin with a wider screen positioned behind the flat-bottom steering wheel. In terms of storage, Hyundai says there’s plenty of that thanks to special transparent pockets found on each door, where passengers can store books or tablets.

2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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Now, these are just design sketches that we’re seeing, but the cabin looks quite airy, and we’ve been wondering where will the car’s internals go.

Hyundai’s answer was that in case the concept makes it into production, the batteries and electric motors would be mounted “outside or below the passenger compartment.” Rounding up the interior in terms of comfort and home-like vibe is a carpet that covers the flat floor (Hyundai calls it the skateboard, by the way) and also soaks up noise - most likely tire-generated.

Drivetrain

  • Could host a 64-kWh battery pack
  • 150-kW electric motor would fit the bill
  • Range should go past 250 miles (400 kilometers)
2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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All Hyundai is willing to tell us for now is that the 45 EV concept will employ a pure electric drivetrain. We know, quite ambiguous, as besides the Li-ion battery & one or more electric motors combo, there’s not much to talk about. However, we can make a pretty good idea of what kind of drivetrain will a future model based on the 45 EV utilize by looking at Hyundai’s current EV line-up.

Assuming that Hyundai’s R&D brains aren’t working around the clock to develop a new generation of electric powertrains for the brand’s future cars (which they might as well do as we speak), the road-going car spawned by the 45 EV could do with the same arrangement found inside the Hyundai Kona Electric.

2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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Inside the electrified crossover, a 150-kW (201 horsepower) electric motor that also makes 291 pound-feet of torque joins hands with a 64-kWh Li-ion-polymer battery pack that allows a maximum range of 258 miles (415 kilometers).

Given the 45 EV concept’s purpose - that is to offer self-driving AND clean trips around the city mostly (provided that the infrastructure allows it) - these figures aren’t half bad and could serve the urban mobility purpose quite well.

2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept specifications
Engine electric motor
Horsepower 201 HP
Torque 291 LB-FT
Range 258 miles
Battery 64-kWh Li-ion-polymer

Final Thoughts

2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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There’s no doubt that the push for all-electric, self-driving cars has become more and more evident in recent years. Carmakers have been working hard to come up with potent electric powertrains that would haul people from A to B around the city, and the technology is getting better and better. However, that’s only half of the equation.

As it’s the case with the 45 EV concept, Hyundai must find a working, fail-proof autonomous driving scheme for its future cars if they are to stand a chance and take off. This goes for every carmaker out there that wants to build self-driving cars. So far, besides the R&D challenges posed by implementing and building autonomous tech, there’s the issue of city infrastructure that simply put, is not at all friendly towards self-driving cars. Sure, there are municipalities that have begun taking steps into changing the urban infrastructure paradigm so that it better suits self-driving vehicles, but that’s not enough: legislation changes must be made to support those efforts.

2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
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Carmakers can churn out all the autonomous concepts and cars they like - without a clear-cut set of laws and regulations to complement a dedicated infrastructure, we’ll still be in control of the steering wheel and pedals, wasting precious hours in clogged traffic.

  • Leave it
    • No details on powertrain yet
    • Will likely morph into a dull-ish crossover
    • Production model, if any, will arrive rather late to the party
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