By now you should be familiar with Hyundai's N division, but for those still in the dark, this is the Korean brand's performance wing. An N-badged Hyundai will always have performance DNA in its blood, or at the very least a performance styling kit in the case of an N Line variant.
When the N brand meets electric vehicle technology you get what's been dubbed the IONIQ 5 N. This will be Hyundai's performance electric vehicle, and as we speak, the IONIQ 5 N is undergoing rigorous performance testing at the Nürburgring. The reason vehicles like the Hyundai i30 N stand out in the performance hatch realm is a result of Hyundai having a test centre at the Nürburgring and a full-time presence at the track. Their engineering boffins spend their days tweaking and tuning the next N model, which in this case, is the IONIQ 5 N. "The Nürburgring is where every N model is honed to the Nth degree, so our first high-performance, all-electric N model must also prove itself here," said Till Wartenberg, vice president and head of N Brand and Motorsport at the Hyundai Motor Company. “The IONIQ 5 N has just completed its 10 000 km durability test on the Nordschleife, which is an important milestone that proves the vehicle’s high endurance and racetrack capability. We have now begun our second 10 000 km test to push the IONIQ 5 N's limits.”
One of the challenges with testing and developing a performance electric vehicle is heat management. Unlike internal combustion engine vehicles, electric cars are far more challenging to cool down. In the case of the IONIQ 5 N, the brand has had to use "An enlarged cooling area with N-specific efficient radiator packaging, enhanced motor oil cooler and a battery chiller complete the hardware enhancements similar to ICE vehicles.”
Like all electric vehicles, the IONIQ 5 N will be deployed with regenerative braking, but the technology used in this Hyundai enables the EV to produce 0.6 G of decelerative force through regenerative braking alone. While this is enough to bring the IONIQ 5 N to a halt, it still has hydraulic brakes to stop things the conventional way. Although undergoing development, Hyundai has let us in on some of the meatier details of the IONIQ 5 N. As a preproduction unit, it's fitted with an assortment of ECU mappings such as Sprint, Endurance and N Race mode. Sprint is the default setting, which gives the driver access to full power on tap, while Endurance utilises clever electronic technology to maximise the IONIQ 5 N’s range on the track. N Race combines optimised energy usage with performance to increase longevity.
To give drivers an experience that's as close to an authentic driving feel as possible, Hyundai's engineers have designed an artificial sound (N Active Sound) and a gear shifter called the N e-shift, for the IONIQ 5 N. The audio is played through a 10-speaker system and replicates a 2.0 turbocharged engine, complete with pops and bangs. The N Active Sound works in sync with the N e-shift to replicate gear shifts and give you a shunt on each shift by manipulating torque output from the IONIQ 5 N’s motor.
We think it's safe to say that the world of electric vehicles has just become a lot more interesting. The global premier of Hyundai's IONIQ 5 N will be at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on the 13th of July.
Gugu Masuku – proudly ATM