Hyundai sees the 45 as its electric design direction for the future. It’s inspired by both Hyundai’s first production vehicle, the Pony sedan that debuted 45 years ago, as well as the 1974 Pony concept coupe designed by Ital Design. Besides 45 years, the 45 also employs 45-degree angles at both the front and rear.
The 45’s styling is minimalistic, using a design language Hyundai calls “Sensuous Sportiness.” Every design has some description or title that helps designers capture an idea, but sometimes they sound odd to consumers. Sensuous Sportiness means almost nothing, but that’s OK.
The 45-degree elements at both ends could visually shorten or otherwise break up the 45’s design, which would be bad. But it does not negatively affect the visual proportions from either a straight side view or in perspective. Those elements also follow the chiseled aspect of the design as a whole. Hyundai says it was looking for something “diamond-like” with this approach.
These angles are playfully integrated throughout the 45’s design surfaces, helping to end body panels with a 45-degree flourish. These angles, by the way, are not a part of either the Pony concept or production sedan, but with the simplicity of the overall design, they integrate well.
“As an icon of Hyundai, the 45 clearly reveals how Hyundai heads towards the future through heritage,” says Senior Vice President and Head of Hyundai Design Center SangYup Lee. “Hyundai wants to present our vision on how we want to reshape people’s in-car lifestyle in the era of electrification and autonomous driving.”
Forward motion was part of the goal of the design as with the Pony’s forward jutting front end and C-pillar. Hyundai’s designers used these elements as inspiration in developing the 45’s design.
The doors don’t open conventionally, but instead, pivot up and against the body. The body itself resides on what Hyundai calls a “skateboard” platform that holds the batteries, but beyond that, it’s not saying much. After all, this is a design concept that may never be produced.
Translating a 45-Year-Old Design
The designers also translated the hard break of the side body profile of both the concept and production Pony into the 45’s design, which is a sharp contrast to the sculptured body sides popular with so many designs these days. It works well and still comes off as modern, not retro. In fact, the whole 45 design, though heavily inspired by these 1970s designs, does not approach anything like retro design.
Inside the designers embodied what’s called “Style Set Free” for direction for designing the interior of the 45. They were going for a unique living space with the ability to transform into different uses based on what the passengers want. A minimalist approach even took in the idea of daylight and how it affects the interior.
Lounge chair-style seats can be rotated to face each other. A projection-beam infotainment interface does away with the current, common central touchscreen. Transparent door-mounted “device pockets” were designed for book or tablet storage, and to easily view what they contain.
Besides the 45 concept, Hyundai has also simplified its logo with a version that is also more simplistic and solid.