Hyundai N Vision 74 concept – N looks to hydrogen fuel-cell tech for future sports cars

Don’t be fooled by the Vision 74 concept’s retro-style. This is a look ahead at hydrogen powertrain tech we might see in future performance cars

The Hyundai N Vision 74 concept car has been revealed this week at the Busan motor show in South Korea. It has been presented not just to be a flashy show car, but also a look ahead at the brand’s ambitions with hydrogen fuel-cell technology for use in high performance applications.

The concept has been revealed alongside the RM22e (essentially a preview of what an Ioniq 6 N might look like if/when Hyundai put it into production) and the confirmation of the Ioniq 5 N’s arrival next year, but this takes a different path by previewing something that’s more conceptual.

From the outside, the concept takes its form as a motorsport-inspired reimagination of the Pony Coupe concept car that debuted in 1974. Yet under the retro-inspired skin, the N Vision 74 reveals a powertrain that could form the basis of a future high performance super or sports car. 

It’s made up from the hydrogen fuel-cell system similar to what’s found in Hyundai’s Nexo fuel-cell SUV, combined with two rear-mounted electric motors and a 62.4kWh battery pack. Its projected numbers are reason enough to be interested, with a 661bhp peak power figure, 664lb ft of torque and a 965 kilometer range. The critical element its hydrogen fuel-cell brings to the package is an ability to be quickly and easily topped up from a liquid hydrogen fuel station, rather than a time-consuming charging process.

Traditional hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Nexo and Toyota’s Mirai work in a similar fashion to the concept, using the fuel cell to generate electricity that’s stored in a compact lithium ion battery from which an electric motor draws its power. Yet this system puts a much larger emphasis on the electrical elements of the powertrain, with a significantly bigger battery capacity and more powerful electric motors. 

The N Vision 74’s chassis layout is also new for the brand, not adhering to any specific platform. Instead this is a bespoke concept that previews a line of development that might lead to a hydrogen powered sport or supercar down the line. 

For now, this is very much a concept, and Hyundai has been clear to suggest that the Pony Coupe-inspired bodywork will not be reimagined in a production car form, but as a connection of the past to its future. And what a basis to work from, as while the original Pony Coupe Concept isn’t particularly well known, it was designed by legendary car designer Giorgetto Giuiaro – the man behind the original VW GolfBMW M1 mid-engined supercar and a whole generation of Italian icons from the Fiat Panda to the original Maserati Ghibli. 

The N Vision 74 Concept takes this basis and applies its current design language over the top, one that isn’t defined by grille shapes or surfacing, but the ‘Pixel’ motif that appears on the lighting, detailing and interior. Beyond the adjusted body, Hyundai’s design department have also gone to town on the aero package, giving it a collection of wings, splitters, intakes and plate-wheels that make it look like a period DTM racer from the ‘80s. 

Unfortunately few of the N Vision 74’s aesthetic elements are likely to see the light of day, but when considered as a whole it stands as an example of Hyundai’s tenacity in performance car engineering for the electrified era.

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