Electric Hyundai N hot hatch coming soon as cheaper alternative to Ioniq 5 N
Albert Biermann has confirmed a smaller electric Hyundai N car is on the way, most likely using the firm’s new IMA underpinnings
The future of Hyundai’s high-performance ‘N’ division is electric as a new zero emissions hot hatchback is rumoured to be on the way to sit below the 600bhp Hyundai Ioniq 5 N. The existence of this new smaller electric hot hatch has been confirmed by Albert Biermann – Hyunai’s chief technical advisor and ex-boss of BMW’s sporty M sub-brand.
Speaking to DrivingElectric, he said: “[A] small N-car EV – that is something we have to do, otherwise, we leave our customers in the dark. We have to come down with something smaller and more affordable.”
With this in mind, what can we expect from the latest addition to the sport N family? Well, Biermann himself admitted that, following the petrol Hyundai i20N and i30N models, the brand has “put the reference point really high”.
We know that all future electric Hyundai models – including high-performance N variants – will use the latest 800v architecture, which allows for ultra-rapid charging. Given the upcoming model will be quite a bit smaller than the Ioniq 5 N and will therefore not be compatible with its huge 84kWh battery, fast charging will be a key factor in allowing drivers to utilise the performance of the car, without suffering range anxiety.
“If it’s an N car, you want to go on the track – even for 15 or 20 minutes," said Biermann. “If you go 400-volt (electrics), you double the current, four times the heat dissipation. The efficiency is bad. If you think of an i30-kind of car, 400-volt is not appropriate”.
Given that the Ioniq 5 is confirmed by Hyundai to be the smallest possible model to sit on Hyundai Group’s eGMP platform, we suspect the new, smaller N car will instead utilise the maker’s upcoming IMA (Integrated Modular Architecture) underpinnings.
Given the recent discontinuation of the i20 N, Hyundai has a gap to fill at the lower end of its performance car range and will want its next N car to be as broad in its appeal as possible. With this in mind, the new model will probably be somewhere in between the i20 N and i30 N in terms of size and could perhaps incorporate some crossover styling elements to draw in the hordes of SUV buyers that would otherwise pick the petrol-powered Kona N.
All of this is quite a way off, though; Biermann himself said there's a "job to do". The IMA platform isn’t expected to make its debut until 2025 anyway, with the future N car almost certainly arriving after a more pedestrian, mass-market model from Hyundai.
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