Revealed at last week’s 2014 Geneva Motor Show, this is the Hyundai Intrado concept – and it’s the Korean firm’s vision of the future.
The next-generation Hyundai ix35 crossover? Maybe not, but the Hyundai Intrado concept definitely does preview the design direction and the types of technology the brand is exploring for the future.
We’ll start with those looks. The scowling headlights look fantastic and work with the angular, hexagonal front grille and the sharply styled bodywork. This is a sporty, aggressive looking car, but the bubble-like roof canopy and rounded rear haunches and tailgate just temper that to give the perfect balance between hard-edged and organic forms.
In fact, shape is everything with the Intrado – the concept actually takes its name from the underside of an aeroplane’s wing.
The interesting shape is backed up by some interesting technology, too. Just like the current Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, the Intrado is powered by hydrogen. However, the fuel cell in this prototype is the most sophisticated yet.
The second-generation technology uses a more advanced hydrogen fuel cell, with the electricity it generates then ‘stored’ in a 36kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
It might all sound very Star Trek, but the technology that underpins the Hyundai Intrado concept is actually extremely relevant to the real world.
This propulsion system gives the car a 370-mile range – and with no by-product other than pure water (the hydrogen reaction emits pure H2O, while the electric motor means zero CO2 tailpipe emissions), it’s amazingly efficient as well.
This is in part to the car’s lightweight construction. The Intrado employs carbon fibre in its chassis (just like a Formula One car) to keep weight down and range up.
It’s also around 70% lighter than a regular steel chassis, which means the less weight you have to move, the smaller the quantity of energy needed to move it.
Like all Hyundai’s, the Intrado should handle brilliantly, too. That lightweight design means the chassis is twice as rigid, while the suspension dampers can be tuned to provide a smooth but taut ride.
At the minute, the Hyundai Intrado might be very much rooted in the prototype phase, but the technology on show is very much viable and should filter through to Hyundai road cars of the future – it might take some time (maybe as long as 10 years), but it will filter through.
The Intrado’s interior also gives a glimpse as to where Hyundai is heading. Ok, so the bright orange upholstery might be a bit sudden, designed to grab attention on a motor show stand, but the architecture of the cabin gives a glimpse as to how Hyundai will build its cars in the future.
It’s plush and very premium, with lots of expensive metal accents and nods to the car’s carbon fibre construction, as well as a TFT digital display, just like inexpensive limousines such as the Mercedes S-Class. We like it a lot.
There’s no official word on performance as yet, but with a stronger electric motor than the (no pun intended) current ix35 Fuel Cell, it should be pretty swift.
We can’t wait to see how the technology develops in the future, but here and now we want your opinion on the Hyundai Intrado concept – like the looks and the tech? What about that interior? Tell us on our Twitter feed or Facebook page now.