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Hyundai’s PHEV Vision T Concept Foreshadows brand’s green Future

John Law

Hyundai has unveiled a plug-in hybrid concept at the 2019 Automobility LA Show dubbed the Vision T Plug-in. This is the seventh concept to come out of the Hyundai design centre and both foreshadows the coming electrification of the brand’s SUV range, as well as representing the future of the brand’s design language.

As for what the Vision T points to, it seems likely a look to the next generation of Tucson SUV, for a start the overall length is very similar at 4,610mm, and although the concept is wider at 2,000mm, we can put that down to exaggerated styling. Of course, the concept is also named the vision T, vision Tucson? Doesn’t seem coincidental to us.

It also makes sense as the Tucson is getting long in the tooth, lagging behind rivals such as Toyota’s latest star – the RAV4 – in terms of green drivetrain options, the concept addresses this with the claimed plug-in hybrid tech.

2020 Hyundai Vision T - 3

At the recent launch of Hyundai’s refreshed Ioniq green car, Chasing Cars had a chance to speak to Senior Manager of Future Mobility & Government Relations Scott Nargar about the future of the brand’s drivetrains, specifically in SUV form-factor.

When quizzed on the future of electrified SUVs Nargar claimed that creating a hybrid mid-size competitor would be “an easy win, but we want those wins for the long term as well.”

Going further Nargar mentioned that “the next variation of our SUVs which will still have diesel, petrol and alternate drivetrains – what those alternate drivetrains are we won’t go into, but it’s a big future”, and with the claim of 44 green drivetrains to come, we can assume this Vision T isn’t just a pretty shell with nowhere to go.

2020 Hyundai Vision T - 4

And it is quite a pretty shell from the what we’ve seen, finished in a matte green hue – which Hyundai claims to symbolise its eco-credentials – sharp lines flow well from front to back, creating interesting surface contrasts to break up the normally slab-sided SUV profile.

Hyundai claim this concept is a “vision of the new urban adventurer SUV design direction”, and certainly the box-arch haunches give the Vision T a hunkered-down stance – though it’s unlikely such width will make it to production – it certainly gives the concept some aggression not usually found in a grocery getter.

“Parametric Fantasy” is one of the core principles of the Vision T design, as a brief definition, parametric design refers to the use of algorithmic thinking to reproduce patterns organically.

2020 Hyundai Vision T - 1

Hyundai reference this directly in the Vision T’s grille, which remains closed at stand-still, but when at speed each individual shutter dances in a prescribed parametric motion to both control engine cooling, and optimise aerodynamic efficiency.

The headlights also act in a parametric way as a contemporary take on pop-up headlights, when the lights are disengaged the glass will be covered by a reflective material, and when turned on these covers retract to reveal the LEDs hidden beneath.

Hidden within the side profile where you would expect to find a fuel filler, Hyundai has placed the charging port behind a sliding flap which should help normalise the feeling of the plug-in hybrid experience.

2020 Hyundai Vision T - 5

Although this is a concept car, Hyundai claims both design features like the parametric grille and lighting systems are likely to make it into production cars design language.

Similarly, after our chat with Scott Nargar, it’s clear the plug-in hybrid system will make way into the next generation of Hyundai SUVs. The Vision T is a potential look into the next-gen Tucson, and if it looks much like the concept here, it’s safe to say we’re excited about that launch.