The Hyundai Design Center Europe is responsible for most of the new Hyundai vehicles sold on the European continent. It is based in Russelsheim, Germany, and was opened in 2003 to ensure all new models of the brand meet “the demanding standards of the European customer” and to “adapt the car to the needs of that specific market.” It turns out the designers from the studio have a significantly wider scope of work than we thought.
The South Korean automaker has just released the first teaser image of a rather interesting new product designed in Russelsheim. It has four wheels but is not powered by an engine or an electric motor. Instead, it relies on the power of gravity, which should help it roll on a downhill road.
Without further ado - meet Hyundai’s first-ever soapbox. It’s being teased with a shadowy image that reveals its overall shape, which seems quite futuristic at a glance. Not much else can be said so far but at least we get to see it’s yellow, edgy, and has a Hyundai logo on the side. "A clear similarity to the concept car 45," according to the brand.
For those unfamiliar with the term “soapbox”, it refers to an engineless vehicle that’s propelled by gravity on a downhill route. It was popular with children who made their own soapboxes from discarded wooden soap crates in the past.
With time, those pint-sized cars have become popular even with automakers with Aston Martin being one of the pioneering companies when it comes to professional soapbox design. Hyundai says these vehicles are particularly popular in Europe and North America, where “many soapbox derbies take place.”
What’s the best part of Hyundai’s plans? Once the full design is done and the vehicle is operational, i.e. can roll down a hill, the company plans to offer it to its customers in Europe. There’s no exact launch date or time frame for the debut of the soapbox but Hyundai promises it “will be revealed soon.”