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Hyundai teases first all-electric N model and hydrogen race car

Hyundai’s N division has a lot of plans in store. With its latest concoctions, the Kona N and Elantra N now out in the open, the Korean brand’s performance arm uses the latter’s reveal to tease two more special projects. At the end of the Elantra N’s reveal video, you see Albert Biermann, president of Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D division chatting with Till Wartenberg, Head of N brand management and the motor sport division, and Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and head of the customer experience division, regarding electrification.

Throughout their discussion, the three engineers talk about what it would be like to make a battery-electric N vehicle, revealing that the high-performance arm has turned its attention to EVs. Biermann then notes that the Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform, which is dedicated specifically to EVs, gives them solid foundations for a high-performance electric vehicle. “I think after some N-specific treatments, it would be tons of fun to drive around the Nordschleife on an N vehicle based on E-GMP,” added Biermann. “I can see many corners where our combustion cars might have some trouble following an E-GMP-based N car.”

The three then continue discussing which upper body of the vehicle they should take. Biermann tells Wartenberg and Schemera that they have choices as a Hyundai Ioniq 5 lurks in the background. “Do you remember the sketches Sangyup (as in Sangyup Lee, head of Hyundai’s design division) showed us?” asked Biermann. All three noted that the vehicle looked very sexy, which hints that they intend to use the Ioniq 6 as the first N car on E-GMP.

In addition to the road car, Biermann also hints that on the next 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, Hyundai will enter a vehicle combining a hydrogen powertrain with the E-GMP platform. At the end of the video, you see the outline of an Elantra N with a massive battery on the floor and hydrogen fuel tanks passing the combustion race cars. Should it happen, this will be the second electrified race car from Hyundai, following the Veloster N eTCR. This also highlights the Korean brand’s commitment to hydrogen as another viable propulsion source in addition to battery-electric vehicles.

With regards to the E-GMP-based N car, the Ioniq 6 makes the most sense. Being a sedan, it’s low to the ground and more aerodynamic, making it the perfect vessel for a battery-electric performance model. That doesn’t mean the Ioniq 5 won’t get an N variant because that’s also likely. Being a crossover, the Ioniq 5 has more appeal and it has the same underpinnings as its upcoming sedan sibling. The go-fast components are there too. Kia’s EV6 GT, which uses the same E-GMP platform, makes 576 hp and 545 lb-ft of torque from its dual-motor configuration and has adaptive dampers and an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential. Those bits will most likely end up on Hyundai’s electric N cars.

Hyundai’s Ioniq sub brand will eventually consist of three vehicles. The Ioniq 5, a compact crossover, is the first one out the door and will be followed by the Ioniq 6 sedan in 2022. Finally, the Ioniq 7, a three-row crossover the size of the Palisade, is expected to arrive in 2024 and will be the most crucial product, at least in North America.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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