Electric Hyundai Veloster race car has us wanting a road-going electric hot hatch

We have an idea about how it could happen

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At this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, Hyundai showed off the new Veloster N ETCR race car, and it looks awesome. It's the already-aggressive-looking Veloster with massive fender flares, a super low ride height, and rear-wheel drive. Seeing a sleek electric racer with a basis in something affordable had us thinking: Why couldn't we have something sporty and electric for the road?

You can rule out any sort of electric rear-drive Veloster for the street because it would surely be too expensive for the company to reengineer the chassis to accept a powertrain in the back. But Velosters are fun with front drive, too, as the Veloster N and Veloster Turbo have proven. And a front-drive electric Veloster seems more feasible.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
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The reason we think this is because of the cars the Veloster shares underpinnings with. It and the Hyundai Kona share bits with the Hyundai Elantra. And as we all know, the Kona has been adapted for electric power. So it seems the Veloster could be adapted as well.

We think the Kona electric's powertrain, as is, would be perfect, too. It makes 201 horsepower, just as much as the Turbo, and 290 pound-feet of torque, more than even the Performance Package-equipped Veloster N. It's not just appealing on paper, either, as we've had a lot of fun with the powertrain in the Kona and its derivatives.

The motor and transmission would be the easy part. Finding room for the battery packs in the little Veloster would be difficult. But I would posit that Hyundai could make some compromises to get it to work. Option one would be to infringe on rear seat and cargo space, which likely wouldn't be too much of an issue, since sporty car buyers don't necessarily want or need the space a crossover buyer desires. Option two would be to make the battery pack smaller, possibly losing some capacity. While it would be nice to have the roughly 250-mile range of the Kona, Soul and Niro EVs, odds are a sporty EV buyer won't be taking long trips with their car. They may have a second vehicle saved for marathon driving. And going with a smaller battery pack would save weight and thus improve the performance of the hypothetical electric Veloster. That would be welcome to any sporty car buyer.

Provided that all this is possible, the last part of the electric Veloster puzzle is a business case. Certainly a sporty coupe-like vehicle isn't as popular as a crossover. But it could make for a solid halo vehicle. It would stand out among a field of somewhat blobular electric crossovers, and it could show that EVs aren't just dorky runabouts for tree-huggers. It would show that EVs are desirable all on their own. And even if someone came in interested in a Veloster electric, but needed something more practical, a dealer could point them to a Kona Electric with a very similar powertrain and driving experience.

Of course, this is a lot of wishful thinking from a car journalist, something we're wont to do. But we're not the only ones that think it's a good idea. We reached out to a Hyundai PR person, and while he couldn't comment on future product or potential future product, he did say we had "good ideas" for an electric Veloster. We hope this was a very subtle nod that something like that could come down the pike, but obviously it's impossible to know for sure.


Hyundai Veloster Information

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