When Hyundai first teased its Intrado concept car in December of last year, it perked up our interest. Not only was it powered by fuel cells, but it also promised a revolutionary new construction technique. Well now Hyundai has released a few more details – and pictures – of the Intrado ahead of its official debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.
So for starters, what’s with the name? It turns out, it’s not Latin for something inappropriate; it’s actually the term for the area of the underside of an aircraft’s wing that creates lift. The term was chosen not only because automakers love comparing cars to aircraft, but also because the Intrado pioneers new construction techniques.
While Hyundai is still being coy on the details, we do know that the car makes extensive use of composites, including a carbon frame. Not only is this unusual for a car that is not designed to push the limits of speed, it’s assembled using a new technique. This new technique is still being kept close to Hyundai’s vest, but it seems to involve how panels and components are joined. It is possible that it may involve a heat or pressure method of forming panels together.
Regardless of the exact method, Hyundai claims that the strength and rigidity of the carbon fiber central structure allows greater flexibility in the materials for body panels. This flexibility should reduce weight as well as making the car easier to repair.
The low weight should come in handy when it comes to design a powertrain. The Intrado is powered by a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell, that charges a 36 kWh lithium ion battery. Hyundai promises a range of over 600 kilometers, or about 370 miles, and a refueling time equivalent to that of a normal gas powered car.
Hyundai has already demonstrated its commitment to hydrogen technology and is about to start selling fuel cell powered Tuscons crossovers in the United States. When seen in that light the Intrado is no mere pie in the sky concept, or even a tech demonstrator, but a genuine indication of what the future of Hyundai crossovers might look like.
It is already possible to look at the Intrado and see the styling as an evolution of what Hyundai is already doing in the Tucson. The technology on the Intrado might not show up on the next generation of Tucson, but don’t be surprised if you can buy something a whole lot like the Intrado in the not too distant future.