Hyundai’s involvement in PURE ETCR is helping the brand develop high-performance road going EVs

Hyundai hasn’t got a long heritage in motorsport, but since getting involved in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2012 and World Touring Car Racing (WTCR) in 2018 it has used its motorsport programme to develop high-performance N-branded road cars. Now, it is doing the same with its electric vehicles.

Hyundai is one of the major brands leading the way in e-motorsports with its entry into the PURE ETCR championship (real electric car racing) which is due to start this year. Alongside other manufacturers such as CUPRA, Hyundai’s N division has been working hard on developing an electrified touring car to compete.

For Hyundai, e-motorsports isn’t just a way of showing off its abilities in developing a competitive racing car; it is a testing ground for technologies which it will apply to roadgoing cars and off-grid charging. So far, the technology sharing between the N motorsport division and Hyundai’s road cars is limited to petrol variants, such as the i30 N and new i20 N, but with EVs like the IONIQ 5 demonstrating where the brand is heading, the crossover of EV tech is coming.

Hyundai Veloster N ETCR

Hyundai calls its entry into the PURE ETCR series – the Veloster N ETCR – its “first all-electric high-performance vehicle”. Built to fulfil the regulations that have been set for the ETCR series, the car is based on a highly-modified version of the Hyundai Veloster N, which is a performance model sold in North America.

In racing spec, the electrified Veloster N ETCR has four motors – two on each of the rear wheels, connected to a single ratio gearbox, which deliver a peak power of 670bhp and a continuous power of 402bhp. Powering the car is a battery pack developed by Williams Advanced Engineering which is common across ETCR cars and has a 65kWh capacity running at 798 volts.

Going by what we’ve heard about other ETCR cars, the Veloster N ETCR should hit 62mph in less than 3.5 seconds and top out at 167mph. This is despite the 450kg battery weight.

Hyundai reckons this technology is the pre-cursor to a roadgoing, high-performance EV from the brand. Till Wartenberg, Vice President and Head of N Brand and Motorsport at Hyundai, said: “By building an electric race car, we will prove a high-performance EV is feasible. The gathered knowledge and data through our experiences on the track are the basis to optimise and improve our BEV and FCEV models.”

Hydrogen technology supporting e-motorsports

If you’re curious as to why Wartenberg name drops fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) into his comment, the reason is simple; ETCR cars need infrastructure to charge properly at race weekends. Given regular pit garages won’t have this, the solution has to be off-grid, and this is where Hyundai’s expertise with hydrogen comes in.

Hyundai will be offering its new hydrogen generator as a recharging system as part of its presence in the PURE ETCR series. Consisting of two fuel cell stacks, it can charge two EVs simultaneously whilst only emitting water as a by-product. This ensures that ETCR maintains its sustainable credentials by having the cars charged from a zero-emissions source.

Beyond motorsport, Hyundai wants to offer its hydrogen generators as off-grid solutions for all manner of applications, including festivals, emergency situations and construction. In this vein, it’s similar to the work being undertaken by British firm, AFC Energy.

ETCR to start this year

The PURE ETCR series is set to start in June this year, with the inaugural race taking place at Vallelunga in Italy. A total of five rounds will then take it to Zolder in Belgium, Motorland Aragon in Spain, Copenhagen in Denmark and Inje in South Korea.


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