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Hyundai N to go electric: RN22e concept previews likely Ioniq 6 N super-sedan EV


With 430kW, a twin-clutch rear differential and an a driving vibration actuator, the RN22e prototype shows N’s electrified direction

Hyundai’s N division will adopt fully-electric powertrains next year – with the brand revealing its RN22e “rolling lab” prototype based on the new Ioniq 6 sedan – and the fact that Hyundai will launch a fully-fledged Ioniq 5 N model in 2023.

Hyundai N and motorsport boss Till Wartenberg said that the N sub-brand will pivot to setting “new standards in sustainable high performance”.

Hyundai has unveiled the Visual RN22e to preview the Ioniq 6 N

While the Ioniq 5 N has been confirmed for production in 2023, Hyundai’s first all-electric N production vehicle hasn’t yet been seen – and specifications aren’t yet known.

Instead, the company has released detailed information on the RN22e “rolling lab” prototype that undoubtedly will inform the final version of the Ioniq 5 N – with a Ioniq 6 N super-sedan likely to follow.

RN22e rolling lab hints at production specs for confirmed Ioniq 5 N

Hyundai’s rolling labs are prototype vehicles that are used as a springboard for future technologies set for production.

“Rolling labs represent the continuous development of our most advanced technologies … [they empower] us to push ourselves to the limit,” said Thomas Schemera, Hyundai’s head of customer experience.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 2022 art shot front
The Ioniq 5 N is likely to be the first all-electric car from the Hyundai performance division

Schemera said that the RN22e was a key part of the “strategic development of [Hyundai’s] entire product lineup, especially…electrified, high-performance vehicles.”

While the RN22e rolling lab uses the body of the recently-revealed Ioniq 6 sedan – rather than the shape of the Ioniq 5 that will actually be the first Hyundai EV to get a full-fat N model – the four-door prototype strongly hints at final specs for the Ioniq 5 N.

The Ioniq 6-based concept features a wider stance and a huge big wing

Strong brakes to rein in circa-2100kg weight

Like other N vehicles, Hyundai says the RN22e is designed to be genuinely capable of track use, with a frank admission in a release that the car has to be engineered to deal with the “inevitably higher weight” inherent to battery EVs.

The dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) version of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 weighs 2100kg, while N division’s first model – the petrol-powered i30 N hot hatch – is 600kg lighter.

A heavy car like the Ioniq 6 needs serious brakes

As a result, the RN22e gets a considerably more serious braking setup, with four-piston monoblock callipers and 400mm hybrid discs designed to “allow RN22e to withstand the weight of its power-electric system.”

Those brakes should be more powerful than the 380mm (front) and 360mm (rear) ventilated disc setup fitted to the Kia EV6 GT – until this point the most powerful vehicle to utilise the Hyundai group’s e-GMP electric vehicle platform.

EV6-matching outputs with twin-clutch e-LSD on rear axle

The RN22e shares its 77.4kWh battery and dual motors with AWD versions of the Ioniq 5, new Ioniq 6 and the Kia EV6 – including the high-performance GT version of the Kia which is set to launch in Australia by early 2023.

Outputs for the RN22e are a perfect match for those made by the EV6 GT: 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque, distributed via a single-speed automatic transmission. While the EV6 GT is said to be capable of a 260km/h top speed, the RN22e’s maximum velocity is listed as “over 250km/h” for now.

A clever rear differential should make the Ioniq 6 N more agile

Like the EV6 GT, the RN22e is assisted by an e-LSD in the form of a twin-clutch differential on the more powerful rear motor, allowing torque to be prioritised to an outside wheel. It’s not yet known if the e-LSD hardware is the same in the Kia and the Hyundai.

Hyundai says the inclusion of an e-LSD system was important for preserving the ‘corner carving’ attribute of its N cars, which have benefitted from standard fitment of a limited slip differential in Australia since the launch of the i30 N in 2018.

The RN22e includes two features designed to let the driver better perceive the performance of the car: an N Sound+ audio generator that plays both inside and outside the vehicle while driving, and “N e-shift” which generates artificial vibrations and the feel of transmission shifts while accelerating.