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Geneva show: Hyundai previews SUV future

Taking wing: The Hyundai Intrado is made of lightweight materials and uses a hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain.

Polarising Intrado concept the first Hyundai developed under new chief Schreyer


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24 Feb 2014

HYUNDAI will display an outlandish concept SUV at next month’s Geneva motor show that offsets its heavy hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain with an advanced lightweight body-shell developed under the influence of avionics.

Called the Intrado – apparently this name refers to the underside of an aircraft’s wing, the part that creates lift – the concept is also the first Hyundai to have been designed under the direction of president and chief design officer Peter Schreyer.

Mr Schreyer is well-known for leading Kia’s recent design renaissance, and before that he was part of the team that penned the classic 1998 Audi TT.

The bulk of the development work took place at Hyundai Motor of Europe’s facility in Russelsheim, Germany. The design is far-fetched, but gives a guide to Hyundai’s plans for its next-generation SUVs, including the long-awaited sub-ix35 baby crossover.

Hyundai says the design was dictated by aerodynamics – reduction of drag – as much as possible. Even common adornments and minor exterior detailing has been stripped away to a large degree.

Dubbed as being “far more than a styling exercise”, the concept meshes a body made from lightweight steel – made at Hyundai’s own plant – with a carbon-fibre frame with patent-pending joining techniques that supposedly “have the potential to change the way cars are made”.

Hyundai says it chose steel for the body principally because, on a road car, it would be cheaper to repair. But the carbon-fibre frame accommodates body panels of any material, it says.

Interesting touches include the seals of opening panels that shut directly against the central carbon frame, showcasing the carbon-fibre skeleton, while components that are usually concealed are highlighted, including the ‘see-through’ air vents and exposed frame where the seats are bolted.

Under the bonnet is a new generation of Hyundai's hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain, as used in its road-going ix35-based trial cars. The fuel-cells generateelectricity and emit only water, while surplus energy charges a 36kWh battery pack.

The hydrogen fuel, which can be pumped into the car in minutes, is stored in high-pressure tanks under the rear luggage compartment. Hyundai claims a driving range of 600km.

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