Hyundai Intrado Concept previews hydrogen future for automaker
Making its world debut in Geneva, the Hyundai Intrado Concept provides an inside look at what may be the Korean automaker's next generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. While taking the form of a cutting-edge crossover, this ultra-clean new-age one-off also has design implications that go well beyond any specific vehicle segment.
The Intrado - officially designated HED-9 -- gets its name from the curved undersurface of an airfoil that helps a wing provide lift. It's the first Hyundai vehicle to be developed under the guidance of the legendary Peter Schreyer, who transitioned from being Kia's design boss to become President and Chief Design Officer of the entire Hyundai Motor Group in January 2013. Schreyer says the Intrado "envisages a motoring future that encapsulates the efficiency and freedom associated with flying." Calling it "logical, lovable and liveable," he further notes this ambitious exercise "shows that future cars can be both relevant and exciting."
All-New Design Philosophy
The Intrado is the first concept vehicle to be styled using Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language and displays a number of visual cues we can expect to see turn up on production vehicles. Its evocative form and inherent aerodynamic efficiency are matched with a solid measure of practical functionality. Largely crafted and engineered at the Hyundai Motor European R&D center in Rüsselsheim, Germany, the Intrado is built around a super-lightweight carbon composite structure that uses patent-pending manufacturing and joining techniques to produce an extremely strong and rigid core. Hyundai believes these revolutionary build processes literally have the potential to change the way all cars are built in the future. Augmented by lightweight steel impact structures and wrapped in body panels made of super-lightweight steel developed by Hyundai, the Intrado's innovative design approach also facilitates cost-effective crash-damage repairs when necessary.
Motivation for the Intrado Concept comes from Hyundai's next-generation hydrogen fuel cell powertrain that offers a number of improvements versus the system used in the existing Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell -- a front-drive crossover with a 134-horsepower electric motor and a range of 369 miles. Although the company declined to provide output figures for the electric motor or cell stack, Hyundai has confirmed the Intrado is fitted with a 36kWh lithium-ion battery pack and will be able to travel up to 372 miles on a single load of hydrogen stored in tanks located beneath the rear seats and cargo floor. This new smaller, lighter and more efficient powertrain package also promises to enhance the Intrado's overall handling and dynamic characteristics.
Cabin Design for Active Millennials
The forward thinking so evident in other aspects of the Intrado's design brief carries over to its passenger compartment. Clean, functional and relatively minimalistic, Hyundai says it was crafted to appeal to millennials and other active-lifestylers. Finished in bright Beaufort Orange set off with exposed raw carbon fiber that recalls the look of a high-end mountain bike, the cabin features four individual seats that clip directly onto a central exposed frame and numerous interesting detail elements that range from simplified controls and switchgear to unique see-through air vents.
"Effortless and sensual, Intrado reflects the open-mindedness and constant renewal of the Hyundai brand," noted Schreyer. "It also shows that Hyundai wants its customers to rediscover the joy and freedom that should be associated with personal mobility." No word yet as to when - or if -- a production variation of the Intrado will appear in showrooms.
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