Hyundai RM20e is 596kW test bed for electric N performance cars

Hyundai shown off the performance potential of future electric N cars with the road-legal 596kW RM20e prototype at the Beijing motor show.

RM stands for ‘racing midship’, and refers to the car’s mid-mounted electric motor, which is said to offer “ideal balance and agility from a low polar-moment of inertia” – meaning it is easier to rotate the car about its axis.

It has been developed as a test bed for Hyundai’s N performance division to explore the capabilities of an electric powertrain, and follows in the footsteps of the similarly conceived RM14, RM15, RM16 and RM19 prototypes from recent years.

With 560Nm deployed to its rear wheels, the RM20e is said to dispatch the 0-100km/h sprint in less than three seconds and be travelling at 200km/h after just 9.88sec. Top speed has been limited for the purposes of public road driving to 250km/hh. Hyundai says it balances these “race-car-like levels of performance, balance, braking and grip” with “daily-driver quietness, responsiveness and road-going capability”.

Last year, the brand unwrapped the similarly conceived Veloster N eTCR as its first electric race car, set to compete in the new eTCR electric touring car series but unable to be driven on public roads.

Hyundai’s electric sports cars will be developed with engineering input from new strategic partner Rimac, whose own electric performance flagship, the C_Two hypercar, will touch down in 2021 with 1490kW and a top speed of 415km/h.

Hyundai said the prototype’s RM platform will “continue to evolve along with the growth of this Rimac” and that taking its N brand into “the forefront of environmental responsibility” forms a part of its plan to introduce 44 electrified models by 2025.

Details remain scarce about what to expect from Hyundai’s first electric N cars, but executive vice-president Thomas Schemera said: “The RM20e sports car prototype clearly signals future electrified brand aspirations for Hyundai’s performance N brand, moving N into the prestigious genre of supercar-level performance.”

The brand’s first electric sports car is likely to be based on the rakish Prophecy concept revealed earlier this year. With a radically different design to Hyundai’s current production cars, the Prophecy emphasises aerodynamic efficiency and features an open, airy interior – suggesting it will not take its power from a mid-mounted electric motor.

Felix Page

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