Recent news from Hyundai shows that it is still experimenting and improving its line-ups. Not only did it release a new “EV-led” version of the shared platform Kona, but it is also experimenting with what might happen with remote work as autonomous vehicles proliferate in the coming years.
New Generation Kona Puts EV First
Hyundai Motor Company unveiled an EV-derived, futuristic design for its new generation KONA subcompact SUV today. The upscaled model will be available in four variants: all-electric (EV), hybrid electric (HEV), internal combustion engine (ICE) and sporty N Line. Each variant will be built on a universal architecture, but with unique styling for each type.
“Upscaled with KONA’s unique character, the all-new KONA confidently expresses its bold and dynamic presence” said SangYup Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai Design Center. “KONA has evolved in every respect to embrace an even wider range of diversity, to become a true lifestyle supporter.”
The all-new KONA has become a larger SUV that still urban-centric with more daring styling. Its bolder style shows a more dynamic road presence, and inside it is driver-centric . To provide customers ‘living space’, the model grew to 4,355 mm in length, which is 150 mm longer from before. The EV variant also increased width by 25 mm and wheelbase length by 60 mm without losing any of its iconic design identity.
The KONA was designed with the EV variant in mind first, which Hyundai then adapted for ICE, HEV, and N Line models. This allowed Hyundai to bring tech-centric design thinking to all model variants. Although they share a common architecture, each EV, ICE/HEV and sporty N Line model has its own unique futuristic styling.
The all-new KONA might look like it’s from the future, but its styling and design still scream SUV. With sculpted wheel arch cladding that houses both headlamps and taillamps, the KONA is firmly planted in reality as a robust machine.
The all-new KONA is brimming with parametric surfaces. The sides’ sharp diagonal crease links the satin chrome molding from the car’s belt to its spoiler, contouring and encompassing the vehicle. In the back, you’ll find another Seamless Horizon Lamp as well as a high-mounted stop lamp (HMSL) that smoothly flows into the satin chrome molding on top of the spoiler.
The powertrain variants have several style variations. The EV has pixel graphic details on the intake grille and rear bumper, a pixel-inspired 19-inch alloy wheel design, black embracing line, and optional black side mirrors and roof. The ICE and HEV share a bold and rugged bumper and skid plate design, with silver side skirts rather than the N Line’s twin mufflers , unique 19 inch alloys, and more aggressive front & rear designs which include wing shaped bumpers that create an illusion of a lower stance.
The all-new KONA has a significantly bigger interior than before to provide an evolved in-car experience that can accommodate diverse lifestyles. The EV-derived universal architecture allows for a sporty layout with floating horizontal C-Pad, which emphasizes KONA’s slim and wide interior–providing a versatile space for driver and passengers alike.
The two 12.3-inch wide displays give a high-tech impression, while the floating module and ambient lighting enhance the user experience and convenience. The column type shift-by-wire has been relocated from the center console to behind the steering wheel in order to provide an uncluttered layout and additional space for belongings in the central tunnel.
The second-row Curve-less Bench Seat satisfies KONA’s aim for a 21st century urban design aesthetic. This living space provides ample comfort and convenience while still looking stylish. Behind the second row is a large cargo area, making it perfect storing any extra belongings you may have on your journey.
While a shared platform probably still involves some compromise compared to dedicated “skateboard” platforms that are optimized for EVs instead of ICE, that doesn’t mean all compromises are the same. With a platform that was first designed for EV and then adapted for ICE and hybrid variants, the EV’s performance should be far better. Plus, the new Kona EV just looks a lot less weird than prior Kona EVs.
Hyundai Experiments With What Future Work May Look Like With Autonomous Vehicles
Hyundai Motor Company’s newest innovation, the Universe Mobile Office, is a variant of its existing luxury passenger bus designed for the Korean market. It allows teams to remain productive while traveling and at remote locations. Thinking of the bus as solely a means of transportation is limiting; Hyundai Motor instead developed Universe Mobile Office to be a smart mobility solution. With this model, the company customize remote work experiences to provide customers with luxurious mobile offices. In doing so, Hyundai Motor aims to become the leading provider in the motor coach sector.
The vehicle’s interior uses a combination of curves and straight lines to create an open-air office ambience with three distinct seating areas. The design elements are both premium and practical, such as semi-automatic blinds and light-colored laminated floors. Universe Mobile Office’s efficient floor plan encourages both individual and group work, with collaboration spaces at the front and rear, personal workspaces in the middle, and storage areas throughout.
The group collaboration space at the front of the plane is laid out for efficiency with a video conferencing system, foldable conference table, and sofa seating so that multiple people can work together. The personal workspaces in the middle are set up for comfort with premium reclining seats, tables, wireless charging pads, individual entertainment systems and plenty of storage spaces.
Universe Mobile Office is available in three options, including standard 10-seater, 13-seater (12+1) with group collaboration space in the front, and 13-seater (11+1+1) with separate seat configurations for transit and collaboration.
While Hyundai didn’t seem to intend this to be an exercise in autonomous vehicle and EV design, this does show what the future of transportation might look like. Instead of focusing solely on getting individual from point A to point B, autonomous vehicles could have very different ideas in mind, like co-working or traveling while working (such as going from meeting to meeting).
This design shows us what some more of those possibilities might look like in the future.
All images provided by Hyundai.
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