The automotive community is currently divided into two general categories of enthusiasts – electric vehicle lovers and haters. We’re not here to judge or draw conclusions but our two cents are that there is still life left in combustion-powered vehicles, even though zero-emissions engines seem to be the future. Hyundai, one of the leaders in the transformation of the industry towards electric energy, seems to have a very similar opinion.
Car Expert had the opportunity to speak to Hyundai executive technical advisor Albert Biermann, who spoke to media representatives during the recent N Vision 74 and RN22e prototype drives. Biermann was asked about the future of the South Korean automaker’s internal combustion engine and his answer surprised us somewhat.
“We are proceeding for the next emission level [for internal combustion engines]. We have no other choice. I mean, we’re not giving up on the combustion engine, are we, we’re a global player. And there was no infrastructure available for EVs for some time in some regions,” said Biermann Car Expert.
This is a situation we have talked about many times – not every region of the world is ready for the EV revolution and the rate of adoption of electric vehicles varies widely from country to country. While some states in the US and some in Europe and Asia are investing billions in EV infrastructure, there are other countries and entire regions that haven’t even started building charging stations yet.
Until battery-powered cars become more affordable and usable, Hyundai will continue to work on combustion engines. All new or significantly updated machines? Biermann is not ready to say yet: “We continue to use combustion engines but are we going to create a whole new family of combustion engines? Yes, I mean you have to follow emission regulations and sometimes it requires intensive development. Euro 7, for example, is quite challenging. So it’s on the agenda.”
Alternative powertrains also seem like a possible solution. Hyundai has been working on different types of hybrids and electric mills and one of its most recent projects has a rather interesting powertrain. Vision 74 (the picture above) It is battery powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, driving two electric motors at the rear. With a peak power of 671 horsepower (500 kilowatts) and 664 pound-feet (900 Newton-meters) or more of torque, this sounds like one very attractive alternative to fossil fuel cars.