Hyundai introduced its new performance-oriented N division just a few years before the global shift to electrification. So far, every single N model has been a hit for its balance of driving fun and usable performance. Now, Hyundai N is getting ready to carry forward that newly established identity in the world of EVs. Celebrating N Day 2022, the division has taken covers off of two very exciting developmental concepts.
Meet the RN22e
Immediately recognisable as a track-ready iteration of the recently unveiled Ioniq 6 electric sedan, it is the RN22e. The notable differences include the massive rear wing along with various other aerodynamic body modifications. It sits lower and has larger openings, typical of a sporty vehicle.
Hyundai calls it a rolling lab. It is their first performance focussed project based on the E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) that underpins the Hyundai Ioniq range. That kind of gives the breakdown of its name – Rolling lab N 2022 electric.
In the reveal, Hyundai outlined three pillars for its vision of electrified performance models – ‘Cornering rascal’, ‘Racetrack capability’, and ‘Everyday sports car’.
The RN22e has a dual-motor AWD setup with torque vectoring by twin-clutch (e-TVTC). Hyundai is trying to figure out a setup which allows an EV to corner well despite the extra weight. In the developmental concept, different drive modes allow the driver to choose the torque distribution on the front and rear wheels. That’s the first pillar.
Then comes racing capability where endurance is key. So, the Hyundai RN22e features enhanced cooling and braking. The cooling helps ensure that the EV performance doesn’t begin to drop. Meanwhile, an electric racecar needs special brakes that can handle track abuse as well as provide regenerative charge. At the same time, the brakes have to be set up for precise vehicle control under all conditions, especially while cornering. The RN22e is fitted with 400mm disc brakes with 4-piston monoblock callipers up front to handle the weight. Hyundai is still working out the rest of it.
Finally, we have the performance potential of an electric Hyundai N. Trying to push the E-GMP to its limit, the RN22e has a 160kW (215hp) front motor and a 270kW (362hp) rear motor for a combined output of 430kW (577hp) and 730Nm of torque. That’s more than enough for a daily driver. The Hyundai Ioniq 6 N is not going to compete with the likes of the Tesla Model S, but it is going to be on the heels of the Tesla Model 3 and BMW i4. The motors are powered by Hyundai’s 77.4kWh battery pack, similar to the one that will be offered in the Ioniq 6. Its 800V electric infrastructure can support hyperfast charging, around 350kW, to top the battery from 10 to 80 percent in under 18 minutes.
The RN22e is a fairly large project, measuring 4915mm long and 2023mm wide. It also needs specialist suspension with a track-focused 3-way adjustable system for height, compression and rebound.
While there will be no substitute for the sound of combustion engines in an electrified future, brands are still figuring out a way to offer an engaging experience. In the RN22e, Hyundai is developing what it calls N Sound+ that generates sound from speakers on the interior and exterior. Additionally, it has something called N e-shift which simulates the vibration and noise of gear changes even though the EV powertrain has none.
Hyundai will continue to develop the RN22e preparing for a mass-market Hyundai N EV. But the first one will not be a sporty sedan, it’ll be a sporty crossover – the Ioniq 5 N, and it’s scheduled to arrive in 2023.
A Work Of Passion – The Hyundai N Vision 74
In recent years, the name of a particular model from Hyundai’s history has come up rather frequently – the Pony. It was a compact notchback sedan that debuted in 1975 and stayed in production for well over a decade. The Pony was mentioned as a source of design inspiration for the Ioniq 5.
It was originally showcased as a coupe concept in 1974, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. That’s the same guy who also designed the DeLorean DMC-12 shortly after. The N Vision 74 is inspired by the same Pony coupe concept that never made it to production and brings it to the future as a track-ripping racecar powered by hydrogen.
The N Vision 74 has the Parametric Pixel lighting from the latest range of Ioniq models. Its wedge-shaped body is enhanced with race-spec aerodynamic elements and openings like the aggressive chin spoiler and rear diffuser, the widebody kit, the ducts in the rear haunches, and the fixed rear wing. The aero discs over the wheels are reminiscent of old-school racecars while being futuristic for aerodynamic efficiency.
“N Vision 74’s future-oriented design reflects the respect and appreciation we have for the dedication and passion that went into the Pony Coupe concept,” said SangYup Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai Design Center.
If the RN22e is Hyundai’s rolling lab for performance BEVs (battery electric vehicles), the Vision 74 is a rolling lab for performance FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle). Its proportions are similar to the RN22e but the mechanical layout is totally different. This concept has both a hydrogen fuel cell and battery-electric system and uses them together. Unlike the RN22e, the Vision 74 is rear-wheel drive only. The fine-tuned logic system that allows the use of the two different power systems improves torque vectoring for the twin electric motors on the rear axle. As Hyundai states, the project’s purpose is to deliver driving fun with electrified powertrains.
The hydrogen tank has a capacity of 4.2kg and the fuel cell stack has an energy capacity of 85kW, which can be refuelled in around 5 minutes. Its other system uses a 62.4kWh battery pack which also supports rapid fast charging. The rear motors have a combined output of more than 500kW (671hp) and 900Nm. That’s a lot more grunt than even the RN22e has to offer. In terms of driving range, Hyundai estimates the N Vision 74 can cover more than 600km. But based on its performance and design, the relevant range should be more like 250km while going around a track.
While the majority of the world’s carmakers are focused solely on BEVs for the future, Hyundai is one of the very few brands that are still developing hydrogen FCEVs. For that reason, we consider the N Vision 74 to be more of a passion project while the RN22e will directly result in future products.
In an era that has driving enthusiasts worried by the slew of dull EVs lined up in our future, Hyundai has unexpectedly breathed a fresh gasp of hope. Even if nothing comes from the N Vision 74, we’re happy to know that those ideas exist among carmakers today. Meanwhile, we’re excited to see what the final version of Hyundai Ioniq N models will look like, starting with the Ioniq 5 N.
Let us know what you make of the RN22e and the N Vision 74 in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons blog for more cool updates from the car world. You can also follow us on Instagram for more automotive content.