Hyundai’s rolling labs explore diverse and inspiring technologies to help lead the electrification shift.
N Vision 74 is Hyundai N’s vision of high-performance, sustainable driving enjoyment beyond the BEV era. It features the first-ever hybrid hydrogen fuel cell architecture.
RN22e is another rolling lab that meets the technical challenges of high-performance EVs with innovative functions relating to weight, cooling, and charging.
N Vision 74, a unique mobile lab, combines Hyundai Motors’ innovative fuel-cell-hybrid technology with an iconic, daring design that represents the company’s vision for the mid-to-long-term future.
Hyundai unveiled its vision for technology in 2015 when it launched the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo Concept Car alongside the launch of Hyundai N, the performance sub-brand, to imagine the future of high-performance fuel cells.
Seven years after the virtual concept car was unveiled, this cutting-edge technology is now available as a fully functional vehicle. N Vision 74, the first high-performance hydrogen hybrid vehicle in the world, demonstrates Hyundai’s leadership position when it comes to sustainable performance technology.
Hyundai’s rolling laboratory
The rolling labs allow Hyundai’s N-brand to explore new high-performance motorsport technology and future N models. This creates a bridge from motorsports to production vehicles. These vehicles undergo extensive testing and are designed to transfer high-performance motorsport technologies to the road.
In 2012, the company started developing rolling laboratories when it began Project RM. This refers to the N prototype’s ‘Racing Midship” rear-drive midship powertrain configuration. Since the initiation and evolution of Project RM, RM models have undergone extensive road testing in order to validate new technologies, observe the effects of these technologies on performance, and improve them before they are applied to future N models. E-LSD, 8-speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission), and advanced technologies such as performance PE system and EV twin clutch were all developed first in rolling laboratory models before being introduced into production cars.
The challenges of creating a high-performance EV
The electrification of cars is not just an option. It is here to remain, including high-performance vehicles. High-performance EVs must overcome a variety of technical obstacles to replace ICEs.
First, the large-capacity batteries add weight and limit car dynamics. To achieve high performance, engineers need to overcome the challenge of large storms and powerful motors.
The second issue is cooling. This is the most critical factor in a high-performance EV. A lack of cooling can lead to a rapid decline in performance, and this limits the length of driving sessions on track due to overheating. EV charging takes significantly longer than refueling ICE cars.
Hyundai engineers, adhering to N philosophy, are constantly working to overcome issues while maintaining N’s three pillars. In order to implement Corner Rascal, engineers have overcome the physical limitations of heavier weights while enabling it to withstand extreme driving conditions on track to give it “Racetrack Capability.” While ensuring none of its practical features that make it an ‘Everyday Sports Car” are compromised.
Hyundai engineers and researchers collaborate at R&D centers around the world to analyze technical obstacles and continually propose new ideas in order to achieve the performance goals of the company in terms of specs, power performance, and driving range.
How N Vision 74 developed
Hyundai engineers developed the N Vision 74 rolling laboratory to overcome the limitations of EVs. They chose to create a hybrid system that combines a battery-electric with a FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) during the development phase.
Fuel cells produce electricity, water, and heat by combining oxygen from the air with hydrogen. The hydrogen in the tanks is converted into protons and e-electrons when it enters the stack of fuel cells. The fuel cell produces electricity to drive the electric motor. Protons reacting with oxygen molecules in the air create heat and water.
The benefits of battery-electric cars (BEVs) are well known. However, FCEVs offer many other advantages. Apart from water, the FCEV produces no tailpipe emission. The FCEVs improve the air quality while driving: the fuel cell stack needs purified air. Therefore, the air filter filters out micro-particles and spits out unused air. Hydrogen fuel cells are highly efficient, with an efficiency between 50-60% when producing only electricity and 80-90% when recycling the heat emitted. As well, FCEVs offer a more efficient and longer-ranged alternative to BEVs.
N Vision 74 is a hybrid hydrogen-electric vehicle that uses a different system configuration than a standard hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle or battery-based electric vehicle. N Vision 74 is different from existing FCEVs, which use integrated hydrogen stacks to feed electricity directly into motors. It also has a high-capacity battery. The high-capacity battery helps to improve the peak load on the batteries and keeps them in the optimal temperature range.
The two power energies of N Vision 74 can be used flexibly depending on the driving conditions. Hyundai engineers chose to take this new, bold approach because they are convinced of the benefits that both technologies can bring in each of their respective areas of application.
The architecture of N Vision 74
N Vision 74 is Hyundai N’s fuel cell hybrid rolling laboratory to explore ‘driving enjoyment’ in an electrified era. Its powertrain was designed for high endurance, rapid charging, and track conditions. Engineers created a cooperative system that allows the two sources of power to work in synergy.
The hydrogen fuel cell stack of the car is located in front. A T-type battery is installed just behind the driver, lowering the height and center of gravity. The lower center of gravity in EVs may not compensate for their extra weight, but it does provide significant benefits, including better traction, less body roll, and a more stable ride at high speeds.
Two 2.1 kg hydrogen fuel tanks were mounted on the rear axle above two powerful motors that can power each wheel independently. The total output is 500 kW. N Vision 74 developed its own system integration and control software, which was more advanced than a typical EV. It is similar to Hyundai’s XCIENT fuel cell trucks in Switzerland and Germany.
Double charging offers flexibility
The hydrogen fuel cells and battery-electric power systems of Vision 74 can be operated separately. Fuel cells can be used to power the vehicle when not required for maximum performance. When high performance is needed, both systems are combined.
Dual charging allows engineers to be flexible in their use of the N Vision 74. The hydrogen fuel cell can be recharged in less than five minutes, and the battery can be charged while the car is running.