Hyundai 45 EV concept is a hip hatch with retro looks

Rectilinearity is coming back in a big way.


45 years ago, Hyundai debuted the 1974 Pony Coupe Concept, a futuristic hatchback that helped introduce the world to the Korean automaker. Now, nearly half a century later, the Pony Coupe Concept’s shapes have returned in a modern electrified format.

Hyundai on Tuesday unveiled the 45 EV concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. While it does pay homage to the O.G. concept of yore, the 45 also signals Hyundai’s way forward as it increases its focus on electrification. As Hyundai said in its press release, “Taking a look to the past is essential for moving forward.”

There’s a whole lot of retro inspiration in the 45 concept, with sharp creases at the front, sides and back. The 45 name also hints at the serious number of 45-degree angles on the body, most evident in the C-pillar. It stays surprisingly true to form, with a few notable updates, especially in the lighting, which is entirely LED-based and is capable of hinting at the car’s range, allowing the driver to see how long of a trip they can complete before setting off.

The seats can also swing outward to improve ingress and egress.


There’s some other clever tech tucked away in the 45 concept, too. The Camera Monitoring System leaves open the possibility for autonomy, including side cameras that replace the usual mirrors.

While the exterior might be sharp and aggressive, the interior flips the script and aims for pure comfort. Resembling a living room and inspired by furniture designs, the 45’s interior is rich with materials like wood and fabric, aiming for something a bit warmer. Since autonomy is part of this concept, the front seats are able to swing inward to foster conversation while the car does its own thing. Instead of a centralized touchscreen, a “projection-beam interface” integrates the display’s functions directly into the dashboard. It’s some pie-in-the-sky stuff, but that’s what concepts are all about. Storage abounds in the cabin, too, relying on transparent material so nobody leaves anything behind.

The one thing Hyundai didn’t really talk about is the powertrain. We know it’s electric, and we know the batteries live below the floors, but that’s about it. It is a concept, after all, so it likely won’t matter from a production standpoint. Nevertheless, the 45 concept is a clear reminder that Hyundai’s ready to charge into the future.