Preview: Hyundai Seven EV Features a Minimalist Aesthetic and Loungelike Interior
The newly unveiled electric concept car could foreshadow an upcoming Ioniq 7 SUV
Hyundai unveiled the Seven electric SUV at the LA Auto Show this week, teasing the potential for an upcoming model. The basic shape is the station wagon-esque form common to most SUVs, but the smooth body lines and sloping hood give the car a minimalist, aerodynamic aesthetic—as we have seen on the upcoming, and otherworldly, Ioniq 5 compact electric SUV. Other forward-looking touches include a loungelike interior set up with autonomous driving in mind and tiny “pixel” lights that play a signature sequence at start-up.
The Seven concept previews a future when cars, perhaps even this one, will be fully autonomous. For example, there is no visible steering wheel in the pictures Hyundai shared of the Seven. But the reality is that the production version will aim to address the needs of families who are ready to jump on the EV bandwagon, and need space for seven passengers.
The interior seating in the concept is attractive, like something you would see inside a stylish home or office. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to imagine such svelte chairs holding up to the rigors of the ever-strengthening crash test standards imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Again, the Seven is built for show and should it make it into production, will most likely be a much more conventional vehicle that is essentially the EV equivalent of the Hyundai Palisade.
If ever there was a car that looked like next-generation transportation, the Seven is it. Broad, aerodynamic-looking surfaces, simple styling, and lots of glass give it a clean look in keeping with many of the consumer electronics products on the market today. Pixelated LED lighting gives the Seven a unique outline, with a horizontal line of tiny, individual lights at its front edge, and a square-shaped array pulling in the rear. These details make for an interesting 8-bit contrast to the strikingly smooth bodywork.
Like the Hyundai Veloster, the doors are asymmetrical, with a single driver-side door, and two pillarless doors on the passenger side. The rear door is hinged at the rear, so that both passenger-side doors swing away from each other for better access to the interior space. This makes for a fun show vehicle, but any production variant is likely to have four traditional forward-hinged doors.
In its presentation of the Seven, Hyundai spent a lot of time highlighting the interior, where a flexible seating pattern and multiple storage drawers give an impression of what life could be like if the interior of a car could be treated like a miniature living room. A moveable center console contains a display screen and a storage drawer. There are also storage spaces in the dash and along the interior’s driver-side perimeter. Hyundai also highlighted an interior air filtration system similar to those used on passenger aircraft.
Despite these thoughtful touches, there doesn’t seem to be any other cargo space. There could be a “frunk” under the hood, but if there is, Hyundai isn’t saying just yet.
The large open space inside the Seven is made possible by a wide, flat floor and a long wheelbase. The Seven is built on the same Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) architecture that will underpin all Ioniq EVs for the time being, and has a massive 126-inch wheelbase—that’s a foot longer than the Hyundai Palisade.
The dash, seats, and doors feature lighting that changes colors and arrangement to highlight different parts of the interior, including what appear to be small lamps visible only when the doors are open. Again, some of these touches may look cool on a concept, but it will remain to be seen how many of them make it into production.
What Drives It
Hyundai hasn’t yet gotten into specifics on the powertrain, but says the Seven is “engineered to meet a target range of over 300 miles.” The automaker says the car’s battery will be able to go from 10 percent charged to 80 percent in about 20 minutes using a 350-kW commercial grade charger in public places.