In a new walk-around video, Hyundai Motor Group’s Chief Design Officer Luc Donckerwolke explains some of the key features inside and outside the Prophecy Concept EV.
Prophecy received its digital premiere last month, during what would’ve been the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. Rather than being a pure concept, its name refers to the fact that this vehicle teasers ideas and features Hyundai will develop in the future.
A classic car design to achieve the Ultimate Automotive Form
Prophecy is inspired by the vintage cars of the 1920s and 30s, with a smooth, coupe-like design. Sweeping curves and smooth lines set it apart from the angular 45, another Hyundai concept car which debuted at the IAA in 2019. However, like 45, it inherits the design language of pixel lights. Its dynamic shape and rear spoiler give it a sporty appearance, and propeller-shaped wheels reduce air resistance. This look is based on Hyundai’s design identity: Sensuous Sportiness.
Inside, the car exudes relaxation, with dark colours and natural materials that hearken back to nature. This is meant to create a completely new type of in-car experience.
“The word ‘sensuous’ integrates the value of more emotion in our designs. ‘Sportiness’ implies dynamics, to be reactive of what’s happening around us. Sensuous Sportiness is not about a new language or philosophy. It’s about a new concept in the creation of our cars,” says Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai Motor Group’s Chief Design Officer.
No steering wheel, but joysticks
One of the most unique characteristics of Prophecy is the steering mechanism. Rather than a steering wheel mounted high on the dashboard in front of the driver, Prophecy is controlled by dual joysticks located left and right from the driver: one on the centre console and the other on the door trim.
In combination with a spacious interior, this not only allows for a more comfortable seating position while driving, it also frees up more space on the dashboard for other features. In addition, 90 per cent of the vehicle’s functions can be controlled via buttons on the joysticks, so there is no need for the driver to take their hands off the joysticks to change the music. This ergonomic setup is known as the Intuitive Human Interface. It has the benefit of increasing passenger safety as well as visual freedom.
Relax mode: turning a vehicle into an entertainment space
The infotainment system is integrated into a large screen stretching across the entire front of the vehicle’s interior. When not driving, the car can be used as an entertainment space by switching into Relax Mode. In Relax Mode, the seats recline and the dashboard swivels upwards, creating the optimal seating position from which to enjoy the content shown on the display. Because of the lack of a steering wheel, the occupants have virtually zero visual obstacles – they see only the horizontal pillar-to-pillar display and the wing-shaped dashboard. As autonomous driving technology progresses, the potential for vehicles to be used as relaxation spaces will grow in importance.
Cleaning the air both inside and outside the vehicle
Not only is Prophecy a zero-emissions electric vehicles – it actually cleans the air. This is thanks to a unique air filtration system with a fine dust sensor built in to the vehicle. When particle levels inside the vehicle get too high, the air system activates, taking in fresh air from the outside, filtering it for purity, and circulating the clean air throughout the vehicle. Moreover, this does not just happen when the car is driving – Prophecy continues to clean the air, even when it is idling or charging, and even if no one is inside.
In most cars, the driver or passenger rolls down the window when they want a breath of fresh air. With Prophecy, the air is always fresh, so the windows of dual-pane glass are locked in place. When the air inside the vehicle grows stale, fresh air is taken in via intake valves at the front of the vehicle. When no fresh air inside the car is needed, the filtered air is pumped back into the outside world via two outlets at the bottom of the side doors. This system is significantly more energy efficient than a traditional ventilation system.
Platform and powertrain
After 45, Prophecy is the second Hyundai vehicle to be built using the Electric Global Modular Platform or “E-GMP” – Hyundai’s first dedicated EV platform. A dedicated EV platform opens up a world of possibilities for new design and comfort features. Electric powertrains are much more compact than their internal-combustion counterparts, meaning there is no need for a wide front hood or a bulky centre console. This allows automotive designers to reclaim the space for passenger use, and to reimagine the range of in-car experiences.