Albert Biermann, head of Hyundai’s high-performance N division and the automaker’s first-ever foreign head of global development, has a unique surprise planned for the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Speaking to Korean website Motorgraph at CES 2019, Biermann seemed to hint toward the arrival of a new hydrogen-electric Hyundai N vehicle in the Motor City.
A translated quote from the engineer reads:
“The basic purpose of the N brand is to raise the brand image of the Hyundai Motor Company and to raise its technical capabilities. We will have surprise news of the N brand at the Detroit Motor Show.”
“If we are not Hyundai, who will make a high-performance hydrogen electric car? We are the company with the most advanced technology on hydrogen electric cars.”
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Hyundai’s N sub-brand made it clear it was interested in hydrogen fuel cell powertrains for performance applications when it debuted the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept back in 2015. The concept, which was essentially a futuristic Le Mans prototype with a hydrogen electric powertrain, offered “a peek at the brand’s next-generation high-performance vehicles,” Hyundai said.
“While hybrid power-trains are today’s performance trend, the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo features a new type of drivetrain, one that will no doubt be the next “big thing” in the automobile industry: a hydrogen fuel cell system,” the official release for the N Vision GT said. “The revolutionary new system allows this conceptual sports car to be both environmentally friendly and a monster on winding roads, delivering instant response.”
It’s unclear if the hydrogen fuel cell N vehicle will be based on a preexisting Hyundai model like the new Nexo, or if it will be a concept previewing the forthcoming dedicated N model.
We’re expecting it to be a concept due to hydrogen’s limited availability in certain markets right now, but Hyundai is extremely competent with hydrogen fuel cells, so a production-ready car isn’t totally out of the question.
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Stay tuned for full details on Hyundai N’s mystery debut for the 2019 North American International Auto Show as AutoGuide reports live from Detroit next week.
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