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Electric concepts looking back to the future: Hyundai, Opel, MG and Audi

Jul 25,2022 - Last updated at Jul 25,2022

Photo courtesy of Hyundai

By Ghaith Madadha


Powerful, yet, bland, electric vehicles (EV) are hailed as the future of clean motoring by some, but derided by others as a insufficiently developed, heavy, limited and fundamentally flawed technology that only-re-locates pollution to power plants and mines.

Regardless of one’s view, EVs are set to become ever more prevalent, and so manufacturers are looking ever more to a more charismatic past to mine for inspiration to make the EV a more desirable prospect to the public. The retro-futuristic EV also aims at drawing a sense of continuity and association with brands’ own heritage. 


Hyundai N Vision 74


The more evocatively styled of two Hyundai “rolling lab” concept cars unveiled earlier this month, the N Vision 74 is a stylish high performance hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) coupe pointing towards future possibilities for the brand’s sporting N division. Inspired by the Giorgetto Giugiaro designed 1974 Hyundai Pony Coupe concept with its clean surfacing, uncomplicatedly sharp lines, rearwards orientation and dramatically recessed headlights, the N Vision 74’s could just as easily be an homage to another iconic Giugiaro design; the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12.

Sharing a similarly angular Giugiaro-like roofline as both historical cars, the Vision 74 is, however, more muscular with its jutting lower lip and sills, large rear wing and big, gaping mid-rear cooling vents. Its bulgingly blistered wheel-arches, meanwhile, resemble those of the classic 1980s Audi Quattro, which itself is rooted in another Giugiaro design. That said, the Vision 74’s lower roofline and wide flat bonnet draw parallels with the DMC-12, but its grille design and “parametric pixel” headlights owe slightly more to the Pony Concept. 

Driving the rear wheels through twin electric motors each side, the N Vision 74 is said to bring a fun factor to high performance electric propulsion, with a torque vectoring system operating like a limited-slip differential in apportioning power for stability and agility. Claiming impressive performance figures including 670BHP and 664lb/ft torque the Vision 74 promises of 3-second 0-100km/h acceleration and a 250km/h top speed. With 4.2kg capacity hydrogen fuel cells solving many of the issues related to EV charging time and range, the Vision 74 promises 5-minute re-fuelling time and a 600km range.




Engine type: Fuel cell electric vehicle

Drive-line: Twin electric motors, rear-wheel-drive

Battery: 62.4kWh, 800v recharging capability

Hydrogen fuel stack: 85-95kW

Hydrogen capacity: 4.2kg

Re-fueling time: 5-minutes

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 670 (680) [500]

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 664 (900)

Top speed: 250km/h

Range: 600km

Length: 4,952mm

Width: 1,995mm

Height: 1,331mm

Wheelbase: 2,905mm


Opel Manta GSe ElektroMod


A different take on the retro-futuristic electric concept car, the 2021 Opel Manta GSe ElektroMod is, as the name implies, a modified EV version of the German brand’s classic 1970s coupe. A more charmingly basic and workable EV concept than most, the ElektroMod is an original 1974 Manta, with its uncomplicated yet evocatively dramatic shape intact, yet, it adds a few subtly modern styling details including its facia, lights and wheels.

A moderate yet effective EV conversion of the sort that is sure to gain real world popularity, the modified Manta GSe features a smaller 147BHP electric motor driving the rear wheels through an original 4-speed manual gearbox mated to a modified clutch. Capable of 150km/h and a range of 200km, the ElektroMod’s manual gearbox surely makes for more engaging and authentic driving, but nevertheless has ample torque to drive from standstill in fourth gear. Weighing 1,137kg, the ElektroMod’s rear-mounted batteries and electric motor exert a 175kg penalty over the original.




Engine: Front-mounted synchronous electric motor

Gearbox: 4-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 145 (147) [108]

Top speed: 150km/h

Battery: Lithium ion, 31kWh

Range 200km

Kerb weight: 1,137kg

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs

Tyres: 205/40R17


MG Cyberster


Unveiled at last year’s Shanghai motor show, the MG Cyberster concept is a futuristic interpretation of the classic MGB roadster and a nod to the brand’s British origins. With dynamic tension oozing from its tautly skinned body, the Cyberster’s jutting angles, generous curves and classic long bonnet proportions lend it a sense of urgent athleticism. With a vast wire-like grille design and scalloped wheel-arches, the Cyberster mixes the classic with the modern, and incorporates much larger wheels and a shorter, more swept back windshield than its iconic predecessor.

With little information or specifications released about the Cyberster or how functional it is, it does, however, seem to be densely packed for a small two-seat roadster, with a large enough battery pack and electric motor to provide its promised supercar-like 3-second 0-100km/h acceleration and 800km driving range. Incorporating 5G connectivity and an “interactive gaming cockpit”, earlier Cyberster press releases had projected that it would also include Level 3 autonomous driving.




Engine: Electric motor

0-100km/h: 3-seconds

Range: up to 800km


Audi S1 E-tron 

Quattro ‘Hoonitron’


A functional one-off show car built for automotive showman, stunt driver and now official Audi collaborator, Ken Block, rather than a traditional concept car, the 2021 S1 E-tron Quattro “Hoonitron” is inspired by the German manufacturer’s three-time Pike’s Peak hill climb winning 1980s S1 Quattro. With enormous and wild front and rear wings, giant protruding sills and wheel-arch blisters, the iconic original S1 Quattro’s trademark details are reinterpreted in a more futuristic manner for the E-tron Quattro, which however incorporate a more current fascia design.

Menacingly muscular and appealing in its own right, the space-frame built E-tron Quattro’s heavily stylised design, low arcing roofline and rounded edges however lacks the brutally sharp angles and lines of the charismatic original with its big glasshouse and functional design. Said to be enormously capable in performance, Audi may have not disclosed output or performance specifications, but the Audi Sport developed E-tron Quattro is expected to feature an at least two electric motor four-wheel-drive system.




Engine: Electric motor

Gearbox: Four-wheel-drive


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