Hyundai debuted a new sport-utility electric vehicle (SUEV) concept at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show that boasts several contemporary features, some geared towards providing a more sanitary and safe ride. ‘SEVEN’ is meant to be a follow-up to the car brand’s expanding line of EVs, using similar mechanical components as the upcoming Ioniq 5, but boosted by a standard SUV’s creature comforts as well as a few futuristic bells and whistles.
Following the footsteps of its reinvention of classic vehicles as modern electric cars, this is Hyundai’s second showing of an EV concept this month. The company has also had other prominent concepts in the past–namely the 45 in 2019 and the Prophecy in 2020–but this is the first one that highlights functionality and design that will excite SUV and EV aficionados alike. The SEVEN is spacious with a planned wheelbase of almost ten and a half feet. Components already featured in the upcoming Ioniq 5 are also included, such as a Tron-like Parametric Pixel lighting design and a dedicated electric vehicle architecture that includes a large-capacity battery that promises over 300 miles of driving range in a single charge. It has integrated air flaps at its wheels that deploy or retract according to brake-cooling or low-drag requirements.
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What’s makes SEVEN a promising electric SUV is its airflow management that adjusts both vertically and horizontally, taking its cue from how today’s passenger airplanes’ ventilation system is designed. Considering pandemic-era concerns regarding cleanliness and safety, its most important hygiene–inclined feature is how airflow inside the car can be controlled independently. Whether the vehicle is in motion or not, the system isolates air circulating in the front seat from air shared in the back seat, dramatically reducing the potential for cross-contamination. Then once all passengers have left the vehicle, SEVEN’s built-in UVC lights will activate and sterilize the interior, cleansing all surfaces from bacteria and viruses in the process. Additionally, the SEVEN comes equipped with sanitizing storage compartments in its bench to ensure that passenger belongings are kept germ-free. Copper trim and hygienically treated and antibacterial fabric are also used throughout the vehicle to ensure round-the-clock cleanliness inside the car.
A Self-Sterilizing Car
Pegged as “an innovative living space on wheels,” the electric vehicle also has a slew of features worth noting that will potentially make a home’s coziness and comfort transportable. The SEVEN’s pillarless coach doors are designed to open with ease and reveal a flat floor and a lounge-friendly and customizable three-row seat arrangement that includes swiveling captain’s chairs, as well as a curved bench that allows for better passenger interaction during the ride. It has a fully retractable control stick that disappears when not in use, a built-in mini-fridge, and a panoramic OLED screen on the roof that can either showcase passenger-defined content or enhance the relaxing atmosphere within the vehicle. Furthermore, in line with Hyundai’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2045, the South Korean automaker has emphasized sustainability through SEVEN’s overall design, using bio-paint for the car’s exterior and renewable and recycled materials such as bamboo, bio-resin, and mineral plaster for the interior. Interior paint used is based on renewable resources that can reduce pollution during production.
Hyundai has had concepts not go according to plan before, so it is important to take the possibility of SEVEN’s production as-is with a grain of salt. Expect any future EV car models based on it to shed a few of its proposed features by the time it hits production. According to a Forbes report, the Ioniq 5 slated to come out at the end of this year is based on the Hyundai 45 concept that was initially unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show. If the previous trend is to be believed, chances are high that Hyundai will be able to produce a close-to-concept model by around 2024 or 2025. Whether the end-product will include the SEVEN’s proposed hygienic features that’ll make it an incredible pick as the car to have during a global pandemic remains to be seen.