Prior to the Frankfurt Motor Show, Hyundai had been teasing its electric hatchback concept, which it calls the Hyundai 45. Now, the new EV has made its official debut, and Hyundai says this concept provides a glimpse into future design focused on electrification and automation.
Inspired by the Hyundai Pony Coupe Concept from 1974, this 45 concept looks just as retrofuturistic as its forefather. The name 45 is a nod not only to the number of years that have elapsed since the Pony Coupe, but also to the 45-degree angles we see in various places on the car’s exterior. Hyundai says the 45 is also inspired by aircraft from the 1920s, which is less obviously apparent than the other design cues.
In addition to interesting geometry and a wide, steady stance, the car draws our eyes to the front, where the dot matrix lighting lurks in a long strip beneath the hood. On that hood, we see an illuminated Hyundai logo, as well as a “45” logo on the lower right side of the front fascia. That design is mimicked in the rear lighting as well. On the side of the car, active LED lights at the bottom of the door indicate the remaining battery charge, so the driver has an idea of range before they even get inside the 45. Mirrors are replaced by side cameras, whose lenses can rotate under a brush to remove any dirt as needed.
As with many concepts that look forward to an age of increased autonomous driving, the 45’s interior is conceptualized as a living space designed for the time spent when the car operates autonomously. It has somewhat of a lounge-like atmosphere, with seating that wouldn’t look out of place in the living room of a mid-century modern home. Front occupants can enjoy infotainment via a projection-beam interface interface instead of a touchscreen. Furthermore, those front seats can rotate to face the rear passengers, or outward to ease ingress and egress.
This is very much a concept car, with Hyundai providing little in the way of mechanical specifications. To us, it seems much more of a design study with an eye toward the future, and the possibilities are afforded with a battery under the floor and a car that can drive itself. Hyundai calls this design strategy “Style Set Free,” which seems like an appropriate way to conceptualize what can be done with electrification and automation. Expect to hear those three words used together again in the future.