The 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show revealed several amazing cars but a real standout was the all-electric Hyundai Pony 45 design concept. It’s not every day you come across a car that looks that good, especially considering they took inspiration from the 1974 Hyundai Pony concept.
Perfect Blend Of Past And Future Design
The Korean automaker showed the Pony coupe concept 45 years ago and became its first mass-produced car. However, back then they weren’t the success they are today and the 1974 Pony had quality issues that tarnished their reputation for some time. Since then, Hyundai has grown into a hugely successful automaker responsible for some of the best automotive design engineering of the highest quality.
It’s been 45 years since the original Hyundai Pony was released, hence the name of their new car, the Hyundai Pony 45. Going back to its roots have resulted in Hyundai blending a futuristic design with innovations from the past as inspiration. The 1974 Pony brings some old-school charm back to car design and it certainly looks the part.
“It’s our EV vision. In markets like Europe, we’re pushing really hard on electric vehicles. We’re trying to nd the right design story.’ Lee admits that we’re living through a very ‘digitised era for transport. We want our designs to be warm and inviting, which is why we’ve added analogue touches, inside and out” said SangYup Lee, head of the Hyundai Design Centre.
Designing The Hyundai Pony 45 Electric Vehicle
The blueprint for the new Hyundai Pony 45 EV concept comes from the 1974 Pony Concept which pioneered mono-box design courtesy of Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign. It formed part of his portfolio of 1970s icons which actually included the first Volkswagen Golf. In fact, his vision set the small-car design template for decades to come.
Today, there are no mono-box cars as Lee points out the slew of SUVs and crossovers that have replaced the once-popular design. He admitted that “there’s a bit of nostalgia for our first concept”. However, while the 1974 Pony Concept had an angular, wedge-shaped stance, the Hyundai Pony 45 is much more refined. It features surfaces, creases and folds that were not possible back in those days.
That said, the car still has several 45-degree angles with a sharp contrast to the more contemporary car design. It has slim LED lamp patterns at the front and rear along with blocky 8-bit graphics and the off-set Hyundai logo takes you back to the 1970s. The Hyundai Pony 45 is a fastback with a wide, lightweight monocoque body that was apparently inspired by aircraft designs from the 1920s.
The team at Hyundai had loads of fun developing the car putting extra focus on a long cabin and flat floor. Their goal was to make the car feel like a living space more than just a means of transport. By using careful light and materials inspired by contemporary furniture, they’ve created a lounge-like atmosphere and ‘homely’ ambience.
What’s The Interior Like?
Inside the new 45 EV concept is technology you could see in future Hyundai vehicles which include a hidden Camera Monitoring System that essentially uses cameras instead of side mirrors. A brush moves past the lens periodically to ensure it stays clean for better visibility.
The cabin is minimalistic as they wanted a living-room-type space and shows lots of daylight with lounge chairs in the back. The front seats can rotate to face the second row while they all swivel when the door opens to make it easier for passengers to get in and out of the car. Then there are projection screens for the infotainment system and transparent storage in the doors ideal for books or tablets.
They also made sure that the batteries don’t impact the interior space so they mounted them under the floor in a skateboard-style chassis. So even while this concept is more of a design study than a powertrain preview, the concept makes it clear Hyundai is thinking like the rest of the industry when it concerns electric-vehicle platforms.
Hyundai recently announced they were investing $35bn in autonomous mobility and new drivetrain technology. However, the Hyundai Pony 45 EV indicates a more immediate focus on electrification as the Korean automaker puts themselves at the front line of the EV market with cars such as the Hyundai Kona and Hyundai Ioniq.
While Lee said that some concept cars are what they call ‘flying carpets’ (cars that look great but impossible to build), he believes this car has certain potential to become the real deal.
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