Retro-inspired Hyundai 45 EV eyes a self-driving future
With one eye on the future and another on its past, Hyundai has rolled into the Frankfurt Motor Show with a new concept built with autonomy and electric propulsion in mind. The 45 EV concept pays homage to the South Korean firm’s Pony Coupe concept from 1974, and offers a look at how it imagines modern-day technologies will shape the next era of automotive design.
The simply named 45 concept owes its title to the 45 years that have passed since Hyundai unveiled the Pony Coupe, but also refers in part to the 45-degree angles forward and backward of the cabin that gave it such a distinctive profile. It also carries an aggressive expression, with the radiator grille replaced by a smooth and minimalist front-end topped by slim “kinetic cube” headlamps.
Beyond the nostalgic nods, the 45 EV concept is mostly about looking forward. Active LED light strips on the car's exterior provides an indication of remaining battery levels, while self-cleaning side cameras replace the traditional wing mirrors to keep smooth uninterrupted lines running along the full length of the car.
The inside, meanwhile, is largely designed for the self-driving era. Interior materials include wood, fabric and leather to create a warm living room-style feel, while the seats appear very lounge-y indeed and can swivel so all occupants can face each other.
Down below, the batteries powering the all-electric drivetrain are packed flatly into the skateboard chassis to create a more spacious interior. This is topped in “comfortable” carpet to really drive home the living space ambition of the 45, which Hyundai reckons will act as a buffer for some of the road noise at the same time.
"As an icon of Hyundai, the 45 clearly reveals how Hyundai heads towards the future through heritage," says SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and the Head of Hyundai Design Center. "Through the 45 built upon our design language 'Sensuous Sportiness', Hyundai wants to present our vision on how we want to reshape people's in-car lifestyle in the era of electrification and autonomous driving."