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Hyundai has claimed one of the most prestigious prizes at the 2022 TopGear.com Awards, with its N Vision 74 ‘rolling lab’ project being crowned Instant Icon.
The N Vision 74 was revealed earlier this year as the Hyundai N division’s interpretation of the type of high-performance, sustainable driving excitement that is possible beyond fully electric cars. It is a unique vehicle full of experimental technology that combines Hyundai’s innovative fuel cell-hybrid architecture with a daring design, representing the company’s exciting vision of the future.
What the N Vision 74 does so cleverly is reference a what-might-have-been moment in Hyundai’s past in its looks, while espousing ideas for future high-performance propulsion. It’s what the engineers call a ‘rolling lab’. And it didn’t need an exhibition hall to shine. Its digital launch dropped jaws on to keyboards worldwide and demonstrates the endearingly humble confidence the Korean carmakers are rich in right now, as the insecure European old guard scramble to remain relevant. In more ways than one, it’s a showstopper.
Hyundai uses its rolling labs to explore ways to work with diverse technology, but what really makes the N Vision 74 distinctive is how it blends the company’s past and future. Design-wise it pays homage to the timeless Pony Coupe concept created by Giorgetto Giugiaro, while under its iconic lines it makes use of battery electric technology in combination with a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) system to bring to life the potential of hydrogen-based high performance first previewed by the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept car of 2015.
Unlike existing FCEVs that use integrated hydrogen fuel cell stacks that feed electricity directly to motors, the N Vision 74 introduces an added step with its high-capacity battery. This helps improve the peak load of the batteries, keeping them within the optimum temperature range for a consistent delivery of power. The powertrain is designed to provide high endurance and rapid charging during track conditions, and engineers developed a cooperative control system to allow the two different sources of power to work together in maximum synergy. When not being used for full performance, the fuel cell powers the car; when high performance is required, both systems work in combination.
The result is a fully driveable vehicle that offers in excess of 500kW of power, more than 900Nm of torque, a top speed over 250kph, a driving range that exceeds 600km and the ability to refuel to 80 per cent in five minutes.
TopGear.com’s recognition of the N Vision’s engineering expertise and breath-taking design follows a string of high-profile awards for Hyundai’s current passenger car range, including World Car of the Year 2022, World Electric Vehicle of the Year 2022 and World Car Design of the Year 2022 for the electric IONIQ 5.
The TopGear.com Awards are certainly not short of potential icons to choose from this year, so it’s a great honour for our N Vision 74 to win such an illustrious prize. What this car does very clearly is bring together the core tenets of Hyundai’s current and future vision, including design and innovation, as well as the performance intentions of our N division. These qualities are evident in the Hyundai vehicles on sale today but N Vision 74 reveals the future will be both pioneering and incredibly exciting, too.