Hyundai's Hydrogen Future Is In Safe Hands

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Hyundai is thinking long term about using hydrogen for fun vehicles.

Hyundai is serious about hydrogen becoming a clean energy solution. Its hydrogen production car, the Hyundai Nexo, is a great first shot, but the Korean carmaker knows it will have to capture enthusiasts' hearts further down the line. That could explain part of the reason why Hyundai Europe Design Center chose its specific parameters for students in its collaboration with the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Italy. The challenge to the students was to interpret the brand's "Progress for Humanity" vision through compact sports vehicles powered by a hydrogen powertrain and measuring 4.4 meters in length.

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Alongside IED lecturers, Hyundai helped guide the teams consisting of 43 students from 11 countries, with representatives from its European design team. The Hyundai guidance team included Chief Designer Thomas Burkle, Head of Exterior Design Eduardo Ramirez, Exterior Design Manager Nicola Danza, and Senior Exterior Designer Davide Varenna - the latter two also being IED alums.

"Young talents can give a crucial contribution into the design development process. Their disruptive point-of-view is able to make the difference, supported by Hyundai's technological know-how. We are very happy for this new collaboration with IED Turin, during which the students interpreted our brief with great commitment, finally developing very interesting solutions and truly innovative ideas," said Burkle.

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The proposals were far from simple design sketches. The students started with the initial study phase, then moved on to brand and market analysis, style research, and sketching before eventually reaching the process's 3D modeling and video rendering phase.

Hyundai selected three projects to become quarter-scale prototypes and feature in the video above. HYDRONE_01 is a sporty hatchback model influenced heavily by gaming - particularly vintage video games. ASKJA is a crossover aimed at getting off the road as much as enjoying it, while AVA is a supercar-styled coupe with most of the attention on its aerodynamics.

This isn't the first time Hyundai has worked with IED. The collaboration goes back to 2014 and resulted in a two-seat, turbocharged, mid-engined sports car concept called PassoCorto (ShortWheelbase) that Hyundai took to the Geneva motor show that year.

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