Track shipments

2022 Hyundai RN22e Concept: Track Test

Discover Hyundai’s vision of the future, powered entirely by electricity. Although still a concept, the science behind the RN22e could power the next generation of performance models.

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What we like
  • Electric and hydrogen cars can be fast and fun
  • Artificial sound amplifiers break the silence
  • Excellent traction in tight turns
What we don’t do
  • Electric and hydrogen cars are heavy
  • E-shift technology is smart but counterproductive
  • The showroom cost of this technology will be astronomical

Hyundai Performance Concepts: N Vision 74 and RN22e

These two rolling labs won’t be hitting showrooms anytime soon, but they do reveal some key ingredients for automotive enthusiasts.

Hyundai is experimenting with an artificial gearbox feel for its electric motors, dubbed e-shift. And find new ways to make electric cars exciting, as well as create “idle shake”.

The South Korean auto giant invited media from around the world, including – in Germany to test its future high-performance electric models on the circuit.

The elegant coupé-like sedan is the Hyundai RN22ewhich would be a testbed for the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5N hot hatch electric car.

Meanwhile, the Audi Quattro lookalike is the Concept N Vision 74. Although it’s inspired by one of Hyundai’s early designs, it’s a pointer to the company’s hydrogen future.

With its super wide body, low stance and racing wheels and tyres, this car is clearly not designed for the road.

However, based on the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan, it’s a sign of things to come – including a sporty, high-tech interior.

While there may be a high-performance version of Hyundai’s future electric sedan, for now we’re focusing on what’s under the skin.

In this case, two high-powered electric motors. One for the front wheels and the other to drive the rear wheels.

As is the case with most electric cars, the battery also serves as the platform on which the vehicle is based.

Battery capacity is listed at 77 kWh, the same as Hyundai’s longer-range electric vehicles in showrooms today.

Although this car is heavy, it has plenty of power to compensate for the weight gain.

The maximum powers of the electric motors are as follows: 160kW for the front wheels and 270kW for the rear wheels, i.e. a total of 430kW (i.e. around 580 old-style horsepower).

Hyundai quotes a maximum torque of 740Nm, which matches the growl levels of the supercharged V8.

To tame this level of performance, the RN22e is equipped with massive brakes – which work in addition to the electric motor’s regenerative braking to eliminate speed.

The RN22e has two other party tricks: an incredibly realistic exhaust sound that responds even to throttle input when parked in neutral.

And Hyundai has programmed preset stages in the electric motor’s power delivery – called e-shift – designed to mimic the gear changes in a high-performance dual-clutch automatic transmission.

We were able to taste an experimental version of this technology, but for the moment, the jury has not pronounced on its effectiveness.

It almost feels like the real thing, but it saps some power and actually slows the car down as it stops for every simulated gear change, rather than accelerating seamlessly.

Hyundai assures us that if this mode goes into production, drivers will have the option to disable the technology with the press of a button.

Normally, however, this car is incredibly fast. This motorsport-inspired concept might not be as heavy as the production car, but there’s clearly no shortage of power.

Hyundai N experts reckon the Ioniq 5 N will have between 580hp and 620hp – in a car that’s not much bigger than the petrol-powered Hyundai i30 N hot hatch.

With these ingredients, Hyundai expects the Ioniq 5 N – due to hit Australian showrooms next year – to be significantly faster in a straight line and around a race track than the Hyundai. i30N.

Brief as our test drives were – a few high-speed laps in each vehicle – it was a fascinating insight into the evolution of electric and hydrogen technology.

And what the future might hold for us.

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, spending most of his time working for the Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and an early member of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive in 2018 and was a World Car of the Year judge for over 10 years.

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