Why else would Hyundai need all this technology?
Hyundai appears to have made a final judgment call on whether the N Vision 74 concept should go into production. CarBuzz discovered several documents filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, all indicating that the development of a production car is going full steam ahead. This is fantastic news in the wake of conflicting reports that left everyone wondering what Hyundai is up to.
The South Korean automaker applied for several patents from mid to late 2022, and all were published in one fell swoop on 15 June 2023. There's a lot to get through, and we can't explain each patent in great detail, but we'll provide a link and tell you why it's relevant to the N Vision 74 going into production.
The most obvious place to start is the power source, which is a hydrogen fuel cell in the case of the 74.
One of the patents (17964632) is a method for protecting high-voltage cables in a fuel cell vehicle in the event of a collision. As you may know, hydrogen is highly combustible, so a broken and exposed cable is a serious issue. One could argue that this may be an upcoming upgrade for the Nexo, but the patent also mentions stacking fuel cells in the direction of travel and even shock-absorbing members for the cables and cells.
Why is thermal management so important? When Hyundai unveiled the N Vision 74, it clearly stated that its engineers designed the fuel cell architecture and that the main benefit was the cooling it provided. Hyundai also said that it would design its own thermal management system, and this is likely it.
Hyundai also expanded on an earlier patent to provide its electric vehicles with a pleasant sensory experience (17880096). The latest version of the patent mentions sound, vibrations, ambient lighting, and fragrances to provide a racier sensory experience. These features can also be used for safety, but Hyundai notes the mood of the interior changes depending on driver input. Acceleration and cornering sounds are specifically mentioned. The interior lighting could change to red when hooning, and the car will provide the scent of burnt rubber. Or clutch. Or race fuel.
The South Koreans are already at the forefront of making their electric vehicles feel more engaging using fake sounds and gearboxes. Still, only time will tell if these systems work. We won't have to wait long, as the Ioniq 5 N is expected to debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and will be the first EV equipped with these features.
To tie everything in neatly, Hyundai filed a patent for frameless doors (17968116), which the N Vision 74 has, but no other Hyundai models do. Hyundai has dabbled in frameless doors before with the Genesis Coupe, and the new patent mentions a new manufacturing process and how to seal the car properly to prevent water from entering the cabin when it's raining. Also, frameless doors are cool as heck.
Finally, Hyundai filed two patents for a body structure that looks tailor-made for the N Vision 74. The Drive discovered these particular patents. They mention several items associated with high-performance vehicles, including a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic tub (CRFP) and a robust structural center tunnel.
All these signs point to a production N Vision 74, though the CRFP tub could just as easily be used for a high-performance EV like the RN22e.
But why else would Hyundai invest so much time and money developing fuel cell technology? Surely, all this points to the N Vision 74 hitting showroom floors in a few years.