The 15th of July is N day for Hyundai, and at the South Korean automaker, N stands for performance. Sadly, we didn't get a full reveal of the Ioniq 5 N that we were wanting, but Hyundai did confirm it was coming for 2023. And that's okay, because we have two new electric concept cars ready to steal our hearts.
Say hello to the N Vision 74 and the RN22e, two very different "rolling lab" electric concepts built with the singular goal of exploring the future of high performance. The gloriously retro wedge is the N Vision 74 (below left), borrowing heavily from another Hyundai concept car called the Pony from the 1970s. The RN22e (below right) wears an Ioniq 6 body but Hyundai is keen to not call this an Ioniq 6 N. However, the automaker says it could preview a future EV N model. Take that as you will.
Hyundai N Vision 74
Technically speaking, the N Vision 74 is a hybrid vehicle but you won't find a petrol engine anywhere beneath its edgy body. Hyundai incorporates battery power with a hydrogen fuel cell – the most advanced fuel cell ever created by the automaker. As such, the N Vision 74 pays homage not only to the 1974 Pony concept in design, but also in power to the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo fuel cell concept from 2015.
Gallery: Hyundai N Vision 74
What does the combination of a hydrogen fuel cell and battery power do for an EV? Hyundai says the systems offer better cooling efficiency. Incorporating a fuel cell also allows for shorter refuel/recharge stops, provided you can find a hydrogen fuel station. As for performance, the N Vision 74 uses two motors at the rear wheels only, generating more than 671 bhp (500 kilowatts) and 664 pound-feet (900 Newton-metres) of torque. The setup also utilises precise torque vectoring for improved cornering, and with both battery and fuel cell filled up, Hyundai claims a range of over 373 miles (600 kilometres).
Hyundai is rather coy when it comes to the possibility of an Ioniq 6 N, saying that the RN22e is "a glimpse of an upcoming EV N." The standard model was only recently revealed, but its swoopy shape certainly makes a great foundation for something more sporty. In concept form, the RN22e coincidentally makes the same 577 bhp (430 kW) as the Kia EV6 GT. As such, the emphasis here isn't on extracting more power, but corralling it to create a corner-eating monster.
Gallery: Hyundai RN22e
To that end, Hyundai says the RN22e is the first true high-performance testbed for its E-GMP platform. The concept car will explore torque vectoring and power distribution while also looking for ways to reduce weight. One can't turn quick laps at a racetrack without upgraded brakes, which is why the RN22e wears four-piston callipers. And The Ioniq 6's aerodynamic properties are also under scrutiny for performance applications, enhanced here with unique fascias and other motorsports-inspired components like that big wing at the back. Inside, engineers are also experimenting with different artificial sounds for a more engaging experience.
"RN22e and N Vision 74 play an important role in the strategic development of our entire product lineup, especially our electrified, high-performance vehicles," said Thomas Schemera, Hyundai executive vice president and head of the customer experience division. "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."
Will either concept make it to production as we see them here? There's no indication that either will see production, though a hot Ioniq 6 N seems almost guaranteed at some point.