Hyundai unveiled the 45 EV Concept at 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. It looks like a car from the 1970s, but infused with the tech goodness of today’s modern times. Hyundai is quick to point out the 45 EV Concept is a direct nod to the 1975 Hyundai Pony – which is the South Korean carmaker’s first-ever production vehicle. But from a design standpoint, we think the 45 EV Concept is harking back to the 1974 Hyundai Pony Coupe Concept penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign.
But that’s not the interesting part. Did you know the Hyundai Pony Concept was the basis for the production-approved design of the iconic DeLorean DMC-12, the very same car in the Back to the Future movie franchise?
The Hyundai 45 is named after the bevy of 45-degree angles on the car
Since Hyundai’s 45 EV Concept drew inspiration from the 1974 Pony Coupe Concept, you’ll see a lot of 45-degree cuts and slices on the vehicle’s body. You’ll see them on the front bumper, C-pillar, and that 45-degree slice intersecting the front and rear doors. Strangely, the odd perpendicular angles and various triangular shapes of the 45 brings back memories of wedge-shaped vehicles like the Aston Martin Lagonda, Maserati Kahmsim, and Lamborghini Countach.
But unlike the aforementioned retro vehicles, the Hyundai 45 has a clean-sheet design. The minimalist yet energetic architecture is part of Hyundai’s ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design language, which we can expect from future Hyundai vehicles.
Hyundai 45: is it a car or crossover?
Since the car is based on a five-door hatchback, the Hyundai 45 is clearly a car. Or is it? It’s not an SUV if that’s what you’re thinking, but it has the height, width, and thoughtful features of a car-based crossover vehicle. But the biggest signs pointing to a crossover-inspired silhouette are the dual sliding doors. When opened, the seats automatically swivel as if welcoming the driver and passenger inside the warm and airy cabin. But overall, the dual sliding doors make it easy to enter or exit the vehicle.
The lounge-chair style rear seats offer comfortable accommodations for three passengers. Meanwhile, the front seats can rotate and face the rear passengers including the front driver’s seat. But don’t worry, the Hyundai 45 is envisioned to have Level 3 autonomy as standard, which means the car is capable of driving itself.
For us, the Hyundai 45 is neither a car nor crossover. It’s something in between, and that’s fine by us.
It’s an all-electric car for zero-emissions driving
Hyundai’s 45 EV Concept is an all-electric car, but that’s all we know for now. Hyundai didn’t say much about the number of electric motors, range, or battery capacity. But the South Korean carmaker did say the batteries and motors are positioned outside or below the passenger compartment to maximize interior space.
Based on the word ‘motors’, we assume the 45 will have a dual-motor setup for all-wheel drive and torque vectoring capabilities. Hyundai says the batteries are set throughout the 45’s flat ‘skateboard’ floor, which we’ve heard before in the yet-to-be-introduced Rivian R1T electric pickup truck.
The Hyundai 45 makes it easy to check the battery charge level before getting inside the car. How? Simply take a glance at the bottom of the front doors. Using active LED lights, you’ll know instantly if the batteries have enough juice to take you home.
Hyundai gave the 45 Concept’s interior a homey vibe
That’s right. In fact, Hyundai’s design team gave the 45 Concept’s interior the vibe of a standard living room. The minimalist touch continues inside the cabin to reduce clutter without sacrificing ergonomics. The cabin is swathed in natural fabrics, leather, and wood to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere – characteristics that describe the word ‘analog’ to a T.
However, the ‘projection-beam interface’ replaces the centralized touchscreen display with display functions integrated directly into the dashboard, a feature infusing some modernity into the old-school cabin.
There are no side mirrors in the Hyundai 45
Instead of conventional side mirrors, the Hyundai 45 uses cameras to better see the road. But then again, we’re not talking about ordinary cameras. In the 45, the cameras are mounted on an innovative turntable module. The goal is to rotate the lens past a brush to constantly ensure perfect visibility by removing moisture, dust, and debris.
The Hyundai 45 EV Concept is not by any means a sports car, but the refreshingly pointy design makes us look forward to electrified Hyundai models besides the Kona EV. We heard Hyundai is working closely with Rimac for their very own electric supercar prototype, but will it follow the wedge-inspired styling of 45? Only time will tell.