Hyundai's Wild New Sports Concepts Will Get You Hyped About Electric Cars

South Korean auto giant Hyundai and its high-performance N subsidiary are making us feel like it's Christmas in late summer. The automaker recently unveiled a pair of two high-performance, zero-emission vehicles to showcase its vision of a sporting electric future. Hyundai is fresh from unveiling its all-new EV based on the automaker's Electric Global Modular Electric Platform (E-GMP), the dramatically streamlined Ioniq 6, after making us teary-eyed and nostalgic with its first EV, the Ioniq 5, in early 2021. Now, it kickstarted the race to what is perhaps the saving grace of battery-electric technology.

"In just seven years, Hyundai N has become the fastest evolving performance brand," said Till Wartenberg, Vice President of N Brand Management & Motorsport Sub-Division at Hyundai Motor Company. Hyundai's first N car, the i30 N unveiled in 2017, has spawned a litter of N-branded cars like the Veloster N, Elantra N, and Kona N. But with electrification peering on the horizon, Hyundai took the initiative in developing fuel-cell powertrains over the past seven years (per Motor Trend).

"N is moving forward to set new standards in sustainable high performance. We enthusiastically start this new chapter of electrified high-performance and will pursue this goal using our creativity, engineering expertise, and competitive spirit," added Wartenberg.

Hyundai N Vision 74: Retro-styled beauty with a conscience

Let's tackle the giant elephant in the room, the Hyundai N Vision 74. It's an angular beauty with hints of a vintage Lancia Delta Integrale and Delorean DMC-12. It's no secret the existing Ioniq 5, which started life as the Hyundai 45 Concept, got its wedgy, angular styling DNA from the Hyundai Pony, the automaker's first-ever production car. What Hyundai did for the N Vision 74 is it took a Pony, stretched it a bit, gave it two doors, massive air intakes in the rear quarters, and finished it with a gigantic rear spoiler.

Motor Trend adds the DeLorean homage is intentional. In 1974, Hyundai debuted the Pony Coupe Concept at the Turin Auto Show, purportedly the automaker's first-ever sports car. Designed by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro (who penned masterpiece classic cars like the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta, Alfa Romeo 105/115 Coupes, and the VW Golf Mk1, to mention a few), the Pony Coupe never made it to production. However, Giugiaro continued refining the design and sold the new version to DeLorean for the production DMC-12.

Look closer, and you'll see the N Vision 74 has inherited the Pony Coupe Concept's B-pillar and wedgy profile. We also like those groovy turbine-style wheels (20-inch front and 21-inch rear) wrapped in ultra-wide tires to seal the deal. The result is an epic-looking electric car, but the N Vision 74's striking body style also hides some clever engineering.

Hydrogen Hybrid

The Hyundai N Vision 74 is no ordinary electric car. Hyundai calls it its "first high-performance rolling lab" powered by "the most advanced hydrogen fuel cell system" the carmaker has ever created. The N Vision 74 aims to eliminate range anxiety while treating the driver and passengers with the driving thrills of a gas-powered sports car. It has a fuel cell under the hood and two hydrogen storage tanks in the truck. The fuel cell can directly power the two rear-mounted electric motors for propulsion or recharge the T-shaped 62.4-kWh battery pack between the two seats.

Driven meekly like a proper EV, Hyundai claims 373 miles of combined range with a full tank (4.2 kg) of hydrogen. But with a car that looks ready for track abuse, you won't be driving the N Vision 74 gently, especially with 580 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque on tap — enough to push the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and a 155 mph top speed.

Hyundai RN22e: Performance streamliner

On the other end of the spectrum is the Hyundai RN22e, another rolling laboratory garbed in the production-spec Ioniq 6's streamliner clothing. It has two electric motors that pump out 577 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque. It also has a 77.4-kWh battery pack with dual 400V/800V fast multi-charging capabilities to replenish the juice from 10% to 80% in under 18 minutes.

Moreover, the Hyundai RN22e concept has an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential (eLSD) with torque vectoring via twin clutches. The system could optimize the torque distribution automatically or allow the driver to choose how much torque outputs the front and rear wheels. In addition, Hyundai is developing its newest N Sound+ system using the RN22e to ensure drivers won't miss the internal combustion soundtrack of the good ol' days.

In other news, Hyundai is all set to unveil its first all-electric N car in 2023. If you guessed it's the Ioniq 5 N, you're right on the money. Edmunds claims the Ioniq 5 N could have up to 576 horsepower from a similar powertrain derived from the Kia EV6 GT.