As part of its product line expansion to include 44 electric vehicles and its investment of almost 50 billion Euros for research and development into future technologies by 2025, Hyundai Motor Group has released a video presentation highlighting its Prophecy Concept car. The company has deemed the EV’s silhouette “the timeless design of a classic car.” Hyundai says the car’s design is “inspired by the automaker’s ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ philosophy,” and “embodies ‘Optimistic Futurism,’ which focuses on the emotional link between humans and automobiles by balancing nature and technology, emotion and practicality.”
By John Coulter, CURRENT EV CMO
Prophecy was revealed to the world on the day following the cancelled 2020 Geneva Auto Show. Its envisioners says it defines “a bright future for Hyundai designs” and “establishes a new standard for the EV segment. The extended wheelbase and signature shorter overhang of the EV platform give Prophecy an iconic silhouette of perfect proportions. The result is a new EV architecture defined by pristine surfaces, pure volume and harmony of aesthetics and functionality.”
“Prophecy's exterior features a clean and simple uninterrupted streamline extends from front to rear. In addition, the pixelated progressive lighting technology is integrated into the headlamp, tail lamp and spoiler, reflecting design elements presented with the Hyundai 45 concept.”
“The interior design of Prophecy also leverages the advantages offered by Hyundai's electric platform, which it shares with the Hyundai 45 concept. A key feature is the joystick steering system, which provides greater interior space and offers more expansive views and ergonomic seating for the cabin occupants. The atmosphere inside Prophecy is continuously refreshed thanks to integrated clean air technology.”
That’s lotsa fancy buzzwords and themes to consider when thinking about a transport vehicle, but Hyundai’s seriousness isn’t in question. The company’s goal is to sell more than 670,000 battery and fuel cell electric vehicles annually, and to be positioned among the top three EV providers globally. In Europe, more than 75% of the Hyundai line-up will be electrified by the end of 2020. The Korean automaker intends to supply almost 80,000 zero-emission vehicles to European consumers this year. It wants to offer most new models with EV drivetrains by 2030 in key markets such as Korea, US, China, and Europe, with emerging markets such as India and Brazil following suit by 2035. Clearly, the company wants their entire lineup to be electrified.
Auto Reviewer Sean O’Kane (theverge.com) says the car “frankly, looks like a Porsche 911 and a Model 3 smashed together and cloaked in obsidian. As a design object, I think it works pretty well. Yes, it borrows its back end from Stuttgart and its front end – especially the shape of the headlights and the curvature of the hood – from Silicon Valley, but that’s not surprising. Hyundai has a pretty well-established reputation of taking design cues from more premium cars and offering them to customers on a budget.”
Other reviewers are reminded of the first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS Class, the Buick Aurora and Audi A7 Sportback. An important axiom embraced by car designers: the simpler the concept, the better the result. The best concepts are those that don’t require adornments and embellishments to succeed. Prophecy falls in that rarified category. Perhaps we’ve seen these pure, flowing lines in Porsches and Teslas, but they’ve been reinterpreted here in new and refreshing ways. It’s a lovely, organic shape, even if it’s slightly derivative.
Prophecy is a further refinement of Hyundai’s 2019 concept car which was called 45 Concept. That car had hard lines, wedges and creases. Prophecy has smoothed out those lines and morphed the overall shape into one big sensuous curve, with a tasteful Porsche-like spoiler on its rear backside. A long wheelbase is used to accommodate a large battery pack and provide better aerodynamics. Prophecy’s wheels have been pushed way back into the corners to provide more cabin space for occupants. Design cues such as silver wheel rims broken up by six turbine-similar blades (which help to decrease drag coefficient), a spoiler made of transparent acrylic, and wide intake funnels which efficiently channel air to cool the battery packs define where Hyundai EVs are headed. Four very cool suicide doors offer ultra-simple entrances and exits.
The interior features low-intensity ambient lighting, a wool-based felt carpet, a large display screen (no surprise, since that’s where all EV’s and autonomous cars are going), and twin joysticks for driving. Hyundai isn’t the only carmaker considering two-handed driving instead of a single steering wheel. A number of EV concepts and autonomous vehicle designs rely on this new method, which evokes videogames. It’s something carmakers may bring to the mainstream in the next 5 to 10 years.
In the car’s Relax mode, passengers can recline and enjoy the view, courtesy of a horizontal pillar-to-pillar display and the wing-shaped dashboard which swivels to create more space and an additional seat position. Environmentally-conscious materials are used throughout and a Clean Air purification system keeps the atmosphere pure. The cleansed air not only recirculates through the car's interior, but gets vented outside into the atmosphere as well. It's a small, but well-intentioned design perk from an OEM that has made a serious commitment to help lessen the world's carbon footprint.
The car’s pixilated headlight design and gleaming coal-black paint make it look like a prop in a sci-fi flick. Prophecy isn’t a vehicle that’s going into production anytime soon. Hyundai has released no details concerning its drivetrain, which means it hasn’t been designed yet. Based on the highly efficient drivetrains Hyundai uses in its highly popular BEVs – Ioniq and Kona – you can assume it'll be top-notch. (USA Today has put the Kona EV on its 2020 List of 10 Best Engines & Drivetrains For New Cars, Pickups and SUVs.)
Prophecy isn’t just around the corner. But it provides unique insights into the minds of the designers who fashioned it and what they believe the future holds for Hyundai’s EVs and AVs. This concept is a daring look at many of the inspired design elements which may find their way into the automaker’s product line in years to come. It’s a breathtaking glimpse at where the company is headed.
The Hyundai Video Presentation: