Hyundai’s N Brand Just Put EV Performance on Notice With Two Amazing Concepts

Hyundai’s performance sub-brand rolled out two drool-worthy concepts and confirmed its first EV model.

byAaron Cole|
Electric Vehicles photo

Hyundai’s high-performance branch previewed Thursday the future for its electrification strategy, complete with two concepts and one confirmation. There’s not a bad pick among the three. 

What will appear for us to buy is what we’ve suspected for a while now: The Ioniq 5 N will arrive next year and will be the first foray into electrified performance for the sub-brand. Hyundai’s keeping the details close for now—as in, there’s none to share. Dang.

What’s left is plenty though. Hyundai showed off two concept racers, one inspired by recent history and the other inspired by history-history.

The first is the RN22e race car that borrows its body from the recently released Ioniq 6 adds more under the sleek sedan skin. Hyundai said it focused intently on cornering capability with the RN22e by using a twin-clutch, torque-vectoring system that shuttles power from side to side. The adeptness at cornering should be baked-in; anyone who’s driven the Veloster N on track could attest to that. Hyundai also said it would provide stopping power to arrest what’s likely to be a very heavy racer. To that end, it’s equipped the RN22e with 15.8-inch rotors with four-piston calipers, bolstered by a regen-braking system that they say they’re developing for “yaw and corner attack.” 

The RN22e has all-wheel drive, 571 horsepower, 545 pound-feet of torque, and a 77.4-kWh battery, with 800-volt charging capacity. The writing may be on the wall with the RN22e, Hyundai not-so-subtly hints that the RN22e is a “rolling lab” that may open the “possibility of a high-performance EV model in the future.” Neat. 

The second concept released by Hyundai on Thursday may be further from reality, but still very close to perfect. The N Vision 74 is a performance fuel-cell vehicle that borrows its shape from the Hyundai Pony, which debuted in 1974 with a Giorgetto Giugiaro body and was sold in Canada in the 1980s. It’s the second time Hyundai has trotted out a Pony-inspired body in the past two years, but the first time it’s had a performance tilt. Hyundai’s specs for the N Vision 74 mostly mirror the RN22e—671 hp, 545 lb-ft—but it uses a 62.4-kWh battery paired with a 4.2-kg compressed hydrogen tank. Hyundai says the N Vision 74 returns 372 miles of range—provided it appears in the real world. 

“These rolling lab projects are great assets to prepare the N’s electrification vision turning into reality, the IONIQ 5 N next year,’’ said N Brand Vice President Till Wartenberg.

We sure hope so. 

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