The Hyundai Intrado concept, Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel-cell crossover project, will debut at the 2014 Geneva auto show with a brand-new lightweight body structure. The concept’s next-generation hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain will also make its first public appearance, likely previewing future Hyundai fuel cell technology for the brand’s production vehicles.
As previously reported, the concept’s fuel-cell powertrain is a smaller, lighter version of the assembly used in the 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell. Bound for limited release in the U.S. this spring, the Tucson Fuel Cell uses a hydrogen fuel cell and a small lithium-ion battery that together power an electric motor with 134 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. The Hyundai Intrado concept, equipped with a 36-kWh battery, boasts a larger, 373-mile range as a result of the smaller drivetrain and lighter overall construction. Advanced materials like carbon fiber and lightweight steel help keep weight down, while also improving handling and responsiveness.
Hyundai is confident that the Intrado’s new carbon fiber frame can inform the future of vehicle construction, since its strength and rigidity gives designers the freedom to construct body panels from any material. The Korean automaker also claims that both the carbon frame and lightweight steel body panels offer better crash protection and require less time to repair. Inside the Intrado, Hyundai made an effort to showcase the crossover’s construction with exposed carbon fiber, which is prominently revealed when the car’s hood, trunk, or doors are opened.
The car’s “fluidic sculpture” exterior shape is designed for aerodynamic efficiency with minimalist aesthetics, highlighting Hyundai’s goals of reduced weight and simplicity. Its long wheelbase and short overhangs give it a sporty stance, while the uniquely-shaped front and rear bumpers scoops (along with matching diagonal rocker sill paneling) add a futuristic flair.
While it is unlikely we’ll be seeing full-carbon frames on Hyundai production cars in the immediate future, it is clear that Hyundai has made strides in construction technology that could find their way into future production vehicles. For the full story and details on the Hyundai Intrado concept, follow our coverage of the 2014 Geneva auto show beginning on March 4.