The name also reflects the 45deg angles of the front and rear window lines. Hyundai design chief Sangyup Lee said that “the typology is taken from the 1974 concept – it’s simple, and pure.”
The decision to draw from the work of 45 years ago is that Hyundai considers the production version of this concept to be the first of a new era of dedicated electric vehicles from the company. “The 45 signifies a new beginning, so we looked at the beginning of our company,” said interior design chief Hak Soo Ha. Hyundai feels that it will now be competing “on a level playing field”, he added, because the major manufacturers have very little EV heritage: “We’ve been followers. Now we want to be leaders.”
The 45’s crisp modernising of Giugiaro's design has produced a look – “tight corners and short overhangs” – that will form part of a suite of Hyundai design styles, with the brand planning to develop more distinctive designs for each of its models. It will also visually differentiate its electric cars from its ICE models.
“Looking forwards and backwards helps us diversify our portfolio,” said Lee. “This will be the language for just one electric car. The next EV will be completely different.”
Lee likened Hyundai’s next-generation range to chess pieces rather than Russian dolls, each piece more individual, “but part of an underlying Hyundai philosophy. We want to add emotional value through sensuous sportiness, and bring the emotional side of our cars up to the same standard as our value for money.”
The 1974 concept’s original front-end shape has been reinterpreted in what Hyundai calls a “kinetic cube lamp” design – essentially, a panel of LEDs, acting as the headlight, that produce a theatrical light display on start-up. The same effect is created at the rear.
Hyundai also employs LEDs for the 45’s badging. Meanwhile, a charge indicator at the bottom of the doors allows the driver to quickly see how far they can drive before getting in.
Technology developments showcased on the 45 concept include a camera monitoring system, which is said to leave room for “self-driving system applications”. As is common on concepts, cameras replace the side mirrors and are kept clean by a lens that rotates past a brush.