Even before its first all-electric model officially went on sale, Hyundai announced what to expect from battery car buyers with the debut of the LA Auto Show of the Seven concept vehicle.
The battery-powered equivalent of Hyundai’s large Palisade SUV will go into production in two years and provide a halo to the South Korean automaker’s new Ioniq sub-brand. The first vehicle in this range, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is just starting to arrive in the US exhibition rooms.
“The Seven concept demonstrates Hyundai’s creative vision and advanced technological development for our future of electrified mobility,” said José Muñoz, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, ahead of the electric SUV’s debut in Los Angeles. “Its innovative interior space, environmentally friendly powertrain, and advanced safety and convenience technologies reveal an exciting future for Hyundai SUV customers. “
Just the start
The Seven is the latest in a series of show cars that Hyundai has used to indicate which direction it will go as the Ioniq lineup unfolds. It follows the concept 45 of 2019 and the Prophecy prototype the following year.
It is based on the same new E-GMP platform like the smaller Ioniq 5 – as well as the new Genesis GV60 and the Kia EV9 SUV which are also making their LA Auto Show debut this week. It is a skateboard-like architecture that places the battery, motors, and other drivetrain components under the cargo floor. This frees up space normally devoted to the cabin, while lowering the center of gravity of the SUV, which makes driving and driving easier.
The Seven’s hood flows into the front fairing, with the SUV opting for a closed “grille” because there is no need to get air into an engine bay. But there are low active air shutters that open when cooling air is needed for the brakes, motors and battery. The front is completed with a new version of the Parametric Pixel lighting used on more conventional Hyundai vehicles.
The roofline tilts slightly backwards, complemented by a small integrated spoiler. As with all BEVs, aerodynamics played a critical role in the design of the Seven, lower downwind drag essential for maximizing range.
Designing the future – now
Hyundai officials suggest that the base design of the Seven will be carried over with the next Ioniq 7, but there will almost certainly be some key differences that will be lost when going into production, most notably the “pillarless coach doors” that open to provide easy access and a gaping view of the cabin.
By pushing the wheels close to the corners, the three-row Hyundai Seven Concept has a wheelbase of 3.2 meters or 126 inches and, without a driveshaft tunnel, helps create a “premium lounge-style interior.” .
In its conceptual form, it is envisioned as capable of driving fully autonomously. When activated, the airplane-style “joystick” retracts and the operator’s seat can swivel to face other occupants.
“The seating arrangement is different from traditional SUVs, with swivel lounge chairs and a curved bench seat,” the automaker said in a statement. “This seating arrangement can be customized based on driver-controlled or autonomous driving modes. “
There is even a “Universal Island” console in which mobile versions of various household appliances can be mounted, such as a mini-fridge.
There are plenty of video screens that occupants can watch together or in private, and even the roof is actually a high-resolution OLED display.
Learn from current conditions
“Seven dares to think outside the box,” said SangYup Lee, senior vice president and director of Hyundai Global Design. “Seven sets the stage for what an SUV should become in the age of electric vehicles with a pure and unique aerodynamic shape that doesn’t compromise its rugged personality. The interior opens up a new dimension of space that takes care of this passenger as a family living space.
Meanwhile, in the era of COVID, Hyundai has said it has turned to various antimicrobial fabrics and materials for a “hygienic mobility environment.” The concept vehicle can also be programmed to activate a UV lighting system to sterilize the cabin when there are no occupants on board.
As for the powertrain, Hyundai doesn’t say much. It is believed to be all-wheel drive and could possibly produce over 300 horsepower, which meets or exceeds what the smaller Ioniq 5 handles. In production, all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive seem likely, with the E-GMP platform allowing for a wide variety of drivetrain configurations – and battery sizes.
The concept, Hyundai said, is “designed to achieve” at least 300 miles on a full charge. Using a 350 kW charger, it could go from 10 to 80% of the battery capacity in about 20 minutes.
To look for Ioniq 6 production to hit the market at the end of 2022, with the Ioniq 7, the production version of the Seven concept, to be followed a year later.