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Hyundai says hydrogen N cars possible

N Vision 74 concept car may become reality, setting the tone for future FCEV N models

13 Jul 2023

HYUNDAI broke the internet when it released the stunning N Vision 74 concept car last year; the retro-styled and hydrogen-powered model offered as a “vision” of what is possible, but strictly not for production.


Now, it seems the South Korean giant is to-ing and fro-ing over whether indeed the model will reach production, with conflicting reports – and statements from within the company – detailing when and how the vehicle will be brought to life.


Last month, South Korean publication Money Today reported that the N Vision 74 “rolling lab” is essentially production ready.


According to the article, just 1000 units of the vehicle will be produced, though perhaps not until consumer sentiment for the forthcoming Ioniq 5 N electric sports car has been thoroughly gauged.


But in speaking to media gathered for an online discussion about the incoming Ioniq 5 N this week, Hyundai Motor Company vice president and head of N brand and motorsport, Till Wartenberg, said the technology behind the system is essentially production ready, but stopped short of saying whether we’ll see it in the shape of the N Vision 74.


“That technology represents what we could do in the long run, as it is a hybrid battery hydrogen system with a Nexo fuel stack inside, and of course, we’re developing that stack as well for the future and making it (market) ready,” he said.


“My personal wishes are to see that car in the future and on the street, but it still requires a lot of discussion and needs to meet certain criteria to make it possible. If it does (become possible), it will reflect all that we want to do with Hyundai as a brand and will become a technological lighthouse for the company.


“We are working on a lot of advanced technologies (right now), and the Envision 74 is just one of the cars which is executing that direction perfectly.”


But Mr Wartenberg is not the only high-ranking Hyundai official to hint that the N Vision 74 will come to life.


Speaking to UK publication Top Gear last month, Hyundai chief creative officer, Luc Donckerwolke said that if the business case made sense, there is no reason the concept model could not become a reality.


“I hate the show business. I hate doing show cars and then – nothing,” he said.


“We are serious about this (car). This could come into production. We have the platform, it’s a motorsport platform … (but) the decision is something that will need to come from management.


“There is nothing unfeasible about this car. It’s pure. We’re hoping and working and it’s only a matter of the right constellation.”


Assuming the stars do align, the limited series N Vision 74 would certainly make one hell of a statement.


The 500kW/900Nm hybridised hydrogen FCEV concept is powered by two rear-mounted electric motors that act as a “virtual differential”. Power is drawn from a 62.4kWh battery pack that is fed by a hydrogen fuel stack that acts as an on-board generator.


The hydrogen-hybrid arrangement means the N Vision 74 can run on fuel (hydrogen) and electricity, both reducing CO2 emissions to effectively zero. The concept model shows a range of up to 600km is possible using both power sources.


Hyundai quotes a refuelling time of less than five minutes – roughly equivalent to a petrol-powered model – and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of “less than four seconds”. Top speed is listed at 260km/h, not bad for a mid-sized coupe that tips the scale at a podgy 2472kg.


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