On March 3rd, Hyundai Motor Company unveiled its new concept EV, ‘Prophecy’, expressing the company’s latest design language. The visionary concept clearly expresses Hyundai’s latest design philosophy, Sensuous Sportiness. ‘Prophecy’ follows suit with an iconic silhouette of perfect proportions that have been inspired by an aerodynamic design. Hyundai’s designers have achieved the Ultimate Automotive Form, thanks to a new EV architecture defined by pristine surfaces and pure volume in combination with aesthetic harmony and functionality. Here’s what the designers talk about how they created ‘Prophecy’.
Prophecy: Progress for Humanity
“The company is enhancing its product lineup with vehicles designed to help usher in a more sustainable future while offering innovative solutions to real-world mobility challenges”, said Thomas Schemera, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “Progress is at the heart of our brand. Through the process, Hyundai aims to facilitate ‘Progress for Humanity’ with smart mobility solutions that vitalize connections between people and provide quality time to its customers”, explained Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Vice President of Marketing & Product at Hyundai Motor Europe.
Then how does Prophecy facilitate ‘Progress for Humanity’? “Back in the 20s and the 30s, that was when cars were cultural and emotional. It was when the future was optimistic and people were not afraid of the future. The design tries to incorporate those values”, said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer at Hyundai Motor Group.
The ‘All Star’ designers are: SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai Global Design Center, Simon Loasby, Executive director of Design, YeongSung Kim, Head Researcher at Hyundai Exterior Design Team, and Raphael Bretecher, Head of Interior Design. These are the ones who developed Prophecy and ‘Sensuous Sportiness’.
“We developed Prophecy to help people feel comfort and tranquility in the future”, said Simon Loasby, Executive director of Design. Without question, the purest form that is inherently present in our mind is the most sustainable design form. The concept embodies that timeless beauty, the pure form of the automobile that we imagined as a young child.
“I think we can draw brilliant ideas from the car we dreamed of in our childhood. The pure form in a child’s car that is clearly recognized by all of us is precisely what we wanted in our future. It is this kind of design that we seek; a design that creates Emotional Connection”, said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer at Hyundai Motor Group.
The designers have mulled long and hard over what constitutes design that forges Emotional Connection. Their answer to this endeavor was that sensationalism consumed by what is deemed fashionable and popular in the times is not the solution. Yeong-sung Kim, Head Researcher, said: “The design with true progress should be pure.”
“I honestly enjoyed the whole design process very much.” said SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. As the designers think deeper, the concept became more real. Featuring the timeless design, ‘Prophecy’ is inspired by the company’s design philosophy and it embodies the brand identity.
Combination with Aesthetic Harmony and Functionality
Then how did the designers instilled their ideas into Prophecy? Leveraging the extended wheelbase and shorter overhang, the designers could freely create Prophecy without a muffler or grille. Furthermore, the design provides excellent aerodynamics, a characteristic indispensable to EVs. The propeller shapes embedded in the vehicle’s wheel not only affirm this trait, but they also compel air to be drawn in and flow down the side of the body like water. “Besides, EVs have more space to contain more elegant designs and high technologies”, said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer at Hyundai Motor Group.
Sensuous Sportiness finds its full expression with the ‘Prophecy’ exterior. The application of Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design philosophy is evident in the voluptuous side section. It is cut by a clean and simple One Curve streamline which extends from front to rear with minimalist restraint. “Prophecy features the timeless design of a classic car”, said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer at Hyundai Motor Group.
‘Sensuous Sportiness’ is a Hyundai design identity. “The design brings together the perfect harmony of aesthetics and functionality of ‘Sensuous Sportiness,’ instantly making Prophecy one of its kind”, said SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. The voluptuous side section extends its maximum volume to the rear fender, while the boat-tail exudes dynamic energy and elegance, simultaneously. The integrated rear spoiler complements this effect by harnessing downforce that aids vehicle stability when traveling at speed.
The pixel lamp lights take a step forward. This progressive lighting technology is integrated into the headlamp, tail lamp, and spoiler, calling to mind the abundant energy contained in the vehicle’s battery cells. Pixelated lamps will be carried forward as a signature design element in future Hyundai models. “The pixelated lamps represent both the analogue and digital world, and efficiency and emotions”, said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer at Hyundai Motor Group.
The Interior of Prophecy: Creating Emotional Connection
The interior of ‘Prophecy’ underlines the simple yet high-technology. Instead of a conventional automotive interior, a lifestyle space of refinement and comfort provides customers with a warm welcome.
‘Prophecy’ also utilizes autonomous driving technology. Instead of a steering wheel, joysticks provide a completely new yet reassuringly familiar and intuitive driving experience. By offering two joysticks that can pivot left and right, one in the center console and another on the door trim, drivers can control the vehicle from a position of comfort. Furthermore, drivers have access to a wide variety of functions, which can be selected via the joysticks’ integrated buttons. Ultimately, this human-machine interface enhances passenger safety. Raphael Bretecher said the joysticks are the best part of Prophecy.
Design changes that have been enabled by the use of joysticks offer more visual freedom to passengers. In Relax mode, passengers have virtually zero visual obstacles. In a comfortably reclined position, all that the passengers see is the horizontal pillar-to-pillar display and the wing-shaped dashboard. In this mode, the dashboard swivels, allowing for a spacious interior and seat position from which passengers can enjoy content shown on the display.
‘Sustainable design’ is another characteristic of Prophecy. That includes the wool seats with the flannel pattern. All interior materials are made from renewable sources. “Sustainable designing is now a must”, said SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai Global Design Center.
Sustainable Design also affects the climate control system. Outside air enters through the air intake placed at the bottom of the side doors. Circulated through Clean Air Technology, it provides a steady stream of clean air inside the vehicle. Prophecy’s identity as an EV extends to the underbody. A wide air intake that is installed below the bumper takes fresh air to cool the batteries more effectively, delivering an even more eco-friendly EV to customers.
The Interior of Prophecy: Creating Emotional Connection
“We have brought to life yet another icon that establishes a new standard for the EV segment as well as pushing Hyundai’s design vision to even broader horizons,” said SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. Hyundai Motor Group is expanding its product line-up to include 44 electrified vehicles by 2025, and the company plans to become one of the biggest EV makers in the world.