Hyundai has revealed plans to include its competition-honed Motorsport division in its electrification strategy. The team has been secretly developing its first battery-powered race car for months, and it has entered the final stages of the process. It's almost ready for zero-emissions racing.
While Hyundai is based in South Korea, it put its research and development center in Alzenau, Germany, in charge of developing the yet-unnamed racer. Team boss Andrea Adamo presented the car as a new chapter in the Hyundai story, and he explained the project is a natural extension of Hyundai's motorsport activities, which include participating in the World Rally Championship (WRC).
These morsels of information don't allow us to put together a clear image, but examining recent announcements helps us shed light on what Hyundai won't show. The covered car that stars in the company's teaser video looks like a small hatchback, so it might be related to the mid-engined, Veloster-like sports car the firm has experimented with for years. It's rear-wheel drive, and the motor might be mounted over the rear axle. We know carbon fiber helps offset the drivetrain's hefty weight.
Developing a high-performance electric powertrain requires a significant amount of time, experience and money, so we're betting Hyundai didn't do it alone. In May 2019, the company announced it had teamed up with Kia to invest $90 million in Croatian electric supercar manufacturer Rimac in a bid to "lead the high-performance electrified vehicle market." We can't imagine Hyundai would wire Rimac such a copious sum and not tap into its expertise for its race car project.
Hyundai's electric race car is scheduled to make its public debut during the 2019 Frankfurt auto show opening its doors to the public on Sept. 12. That's when we'll learn where Hyundai plans to take its EV racing, as well as what lessons it can draw from the program and inject into future production cars.