The battery electric era is already arriving, but a big question remains over what will follow it. A significant percentage of the auto industry holds that BEVs will be the long-term answer. They are, in essence, betting that the issues of range, cost, finding materials for battery packs—and the challenge of recycling old cells—will all be answered in time.
Yet others believe that battery-powered EVs will only be an interim solution, one that will eventually be supplemented by hydrogen power through fuel cells.
This isn’t outer-edge stuff. Two of the biggest automakers in the world—Toyota and Hyundai—are committed to hugely expensive fuel cell programs, and both have already put hydrogen-powered vehicles into limited production. But these cars, the Mirai and Nexo respectively, are worthy and unexciting, certainly from everything but a technical point of view. Now meet one that’s not.
In truth Hyundai’s spectacular N Vision 74 concept isn’t a pure hydrogen car so much as a hydrogen-assisted EV. Nor are there any plans to put it into production with any type of powerplant. But it looks great, delivers up to 690 hp through its rear axle, and is fully capable of smoking its back tires while travelling sideways. There’s also a genuine reason it looks a little bit like a Delorean DMC-12—and Autoweek has driven it.