“Inspired by the flow of water”

- We caught up with Innwhan Kim, Senior Exterior Designer at Hyundai Motor Advanced Design Team, at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show to discuss aspects of the FE Fuel Cell Concept’s exterior design.

What inspired the design of the FE Fuel Cell Concept?

It actually came down to the main aspect of the car, which is hydrogen. Like hydrogen, we thought about this car as clean and pure. We studied this clean and calm design idea more, and as you can see it’s not really full of crazy character lines or busy design, it’s more clean and pure. The main theme of the car that we were trying to portray – aside from hydrogen – was the circulation of water, which is unlimited energy. When you look at the exterior design of the car, the swooping lights at the front and rear lead into the character line that wraps around the car naturally. This emphasises the car's clean and calm design.

Chris Drozdowski, Interior Designer (left), and Innwhan Kim, Exterior Designer, next to the FE Fuel Cell Concept, on display at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show

What difficulties did you face when designing the FE Fuel Cell Concept’s exterior?

It's always a challenge to design a concept car as you have to free your mind from the design of the series production car and challenge existing conventions to try out something new. We think that we created a really unique design with the FE Fuel Cell Concept.

Can you explain why the team decided to go with “suicide doors” [doors that open in the opposite way]? Does this reflect the design language?

We wanted to come up with a solution for the best way to show this magnificent blue interior design. If we had made it with regular SUV doors I think it would be too normal to show off the great interior design. These doors allowed us to show the theme and origin of the interior and connect it more to the exterior design. This is similar to the circulation of water. Both the interior and exterior are connected – they're not created separately – we’re trying to create one piece of art.

Design sketch of the FE Fuel Cell Concept

What was the idea behind the Fe Fuel Cell Concept's wheel design?

We concentrated on producing a simple and calm design for the body, and asked ourselves questions like, “is it best to design simple wheels because the body’s simple?” When you see normal eco-friendly cars, you see wheels that say “I’m eco-friendly”. I think it’s really basic to design something like that, and instead we went much further beyond regular wheel designs. It actually completes the car – in a good way – because the body is simple and the wheels give more contrast. They’re like the jewels of the car.

Hyundai Motor's FE Fuel Cell Concept

Finally, what’s the difference between designing a concept car that you know is unlikely to go into production and designing a production car?

Whether you’re designing a concept or production car, it’s always challenging. In production design you have more limitations and within these limitations you have to create something fresh. With a concept car, you have to be really, really creative and actually sometimes go crazy with the design, so trying to find new ideas can be very challenging. Also, all the new parts and technological advancements that we plan to feature may not be made available until the later stages of production, so we have to make sure we’re up to date with the latest technologies and current trends to make the completed concept car one of the stars of the show.

Read here what Interior Designer Chris Drozdowski says about the FE Fuel Cell Concept.

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