Concept Cars

Hyundai's new race car prototype tells us what's coming for the brand

The new RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car showcases the future of the Hyundai brand.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai debuted the RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car this week, showcasing what isn't the beginning but what is very much the future of what the Hyundai brand will offer. The electric-based high-performance race car, like those designed by other manufacturers is a proving ground for technologies that may be employed in Hyundai passenger vehicles in the future.

Hyundai has been quite open about this calling the platform the RM20e is based on, the RM development platform, will be used for future N brand products that are inspired by the car. This follows as part of the progressive evolution of the car with previous iterations bearing the names RM14, RM15, RM16 and RM19.

RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai's first electric race car was developed for the eTCR electric touring car series in 2019 - the Veloster N eTCR.

"Our new electrified RM20e pushes the proven RM platform forcefully into a new, environmentally-focused decade of the 21st century, stretching the performance envelope of electrification on normal road environments," said Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group. "RM20e represents a revolutionary new chapter of electrified performance for the Racing Midship series, and our N engineers continue to garner valuable insights in the arena of zero-emission performance dynamics."

The mid-engined, rear-wheel drive RM20e features a powertrain that achieves 810 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque thanks to its electric motor. It can get from zero to 62 mph in less than three seconds and to 124 mph from a standstill in 9.88 seconds.

Hyundai says that the RM20e combines "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip while retaining daily-driver quietness, responsiveness and road-going capability".

The propulsion system driving the car, as well as the equipment that helps it achieve the "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip" are part of Hyundai's larger plant to develop hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hyundai isn't working alone. The company has formed a strategic partnership with Rimac Automobili to co-develop battery and fuel cell electric vehicle prototypes.

Additionally, Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of the Hyundai, Genesis, Kia, and new Ioniq brand, has committed to addinng 44 "eco-friendly" models by 2025.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Bugatti Bolide is a concept car that pushes the limits of what is possible for the super luxury automaker.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

What if Bugatti developed a track-focused hyper sports car? Lotus is doing it. So is McLaren. Ferrari and Lamborghini? Been there, done that.

The Bugatti Bolide concept car pushes the limits of what Bugatti is capable of. It's derived from production cars but doesn't stick to the formula. It has a weight-to-power ratio of only 0.67 kilograms per horsepower.

"Bugatti stands for the continuous quest for technological innovations – in alignment with the company's brand values of excellence, courage, dedication. And Bugatti never stands still. We are perpetually aiming for new and exciting goals, and the question that we always keep in mind is: what if?" said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti.

Bugatti Bolide The car takes its design inspiration from historic planes.Photo courtesy of Bugatti

In the concept, Bugatti has used its 8.0-liter W16 engine, which delivers 1,850 PS (1,824 horsepower) and 1,805 nM (1,364 pound-feet) of torque to move the Bolide1's 1,240-kilogram (2,733-pound) body. Bugatti clocks the model's top speed as being almost on-par with that of Formula One cars, well above 500 kilometers per hour (310 mph) and confirms that the weight and speed do not impact the car's agility.

The Bolide takes 3:07.1 minutes to complete a lap of Le Mans and 5:23.1 minutes to get around the Nordschleife.

"We asked ourselves how we could realize the mighty W16 engine as a technical symbol of the brand in its purest form – with solely four wheels, engine, gearbox, steering wheel and, as the only luxury, two seats," said Winkelmann.

"Important aspects of our considerations were fine-tuning our iconic powertrain without any limitations as regards the weight-to-power ratio. These considerations resulted in the Bugatti Bolide. An uncompromising experiment, a thoroughbred, a Pur Sang that, in its brute exclusivity, impresses above all with high performance, low weight, and a driving experience in a whole new dimension. Driving the Bolide is like riding on a cannonball."

Bugatti Bolide The front of the car is very familiar to Bugatti fans.Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Importantly, the car meets FIA's safety requirements. These include HANS device compatibility, an automatic fire extinguishing system, a towing device, pressure refuelling with fuel bladder, central locks for the wheels, lightweight polycarbonate windows, and a six-point harness system.

"All of Bugatti's expertise has been condensed into the Bugatti Bolide. It is therefore an innovative information source for future technologies. The Bolide is thus more than just an intellectual exercise," said Stefan Ellrott, member of the Board of Management of Bugatti and Head of Technical Development.

"In terms of technology and organization, the Bolide was one of the most ambitious projects of my career," says Frank Götzke, head of new technologies at Bugatti. Before working to develop the Bolide1, Götzke played an integral role in the development of the Veyron 16.4 and the Chiron5. It took Götzke just eight months to create the new model.

Modifications to existing equipment include a de-throttling of the intake and exhaust system to allow for faster response. The engine features four newly developed turbochargers that have optimized blades that are designed to build up boost pressure and power while the engine is running at a higher speed. The oil circuit, oil pressure, check valves, baffles, oil tanks, oil reservoirs, and pump design of the dry sump lubrication have been optimized.

Bugatti Bolide The interior of the car is relatively bare bones to assist with lightweighting.Photo courtesy of Bugatti

The Bolide features air-to-air cooling rather than a water-to-air setup. Water is then pre-cooled for optimal performance. Newly developed and hybrid carbon titanium turbofan radial compressors ventilate and cool the high-performance racing brake system.

The engine is a big part of the equation, but not all. In order to achieve such a low power-to-weight ratio, Bugatti had to look for weight savings wherever possible. All screen and fastening elements are made of titanium. Hollow, thin-walled functional components made of an aerospace titanium alloy are used in many places, having been constructed using a 3D printer, which enabled their 0.5 millimeter thickness.

One of the most interesting parts of the Bolide is its roof. Its outer layer is morphable. Bugatti explains: "If the vehicle is driven at a slow speed, the surface of the scoop remains smooth. In contrast, a field of bubbles bulges out when driven at fast speeds. This reduces the aerodynamic drag of the scoop by 10 percent and ensures a 17 percent reduction in lift forces."

The Bolide uses racing brakes with ceramic discs and coatings. The calipers weigh just 2.4 kilograms (5.2 pounds) each. Bugatti has given the model front forged magnesium rims with central lock that weigh in at 7.4 kilograms (15.4 pounds) while the rear rims weigh inn at 8.4 kilograms (18.5 pounds). It rides on very wide tires - 340 millimeters on the front axle and 400 millimeters on the rear.

Bugatti Bolide

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

The car's light monococque is made of carbon while the front end flange is made of the same. The strength of the carbon fibers is akin to what is used in the aerospace industry and is significantly stronger than what can be found in cars on the road today.

Bugatti's speedster is just 995 millimeters (39.1 inches) high, the same height as the historic Bugatti Type 35.

The Bolide is one of the most aerodynamic and challenging models that Achim Anscheidt, director of design at Bugatti, has taken on. His design for the car was inspired by the so-called X-planes of aviation history. This is most apparent at the tail end of the model. It is indirectly reminiscent of the Bell X-1 jet aircraft which was flown by Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager 1947, the first person to break the sound barrier at Mach 1.06.

Only around 40 percent of the surfaces of the model are painted, coated in a re-interpretation of the historic French Racing Blue.

"Fifteen years ago, Bugatti succeeded in creating a new segment with the Veyron 16.4: that of the superior hyper sports car. With the Chiron launched in 2016, we systematically developed this segment further. The models bear witness to power and elegance, uniquely combining technology, design, luxury, and quality in a hitherto unknown combination," explains Anscheidt. "In contrast, the Bugatti Bolide is an absolute rebel. It is clear to see that its only aim is to convey the pure power of the W16 engine in a visually and technically unadulterated form. Reduced, raw, and authentic – like freshly-caught sashimi".

Whether the Bugatti Bolide will go into series production, has not been decided yet.

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Kia has begun research and development into a new round of military vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia is looking to strengthen its position to win military contracts. The company has revealed plans to develop a new standard platform for next-generation military vehicles. The project is a joint effort between Kia and the South Korean government and part of Kia's larger Plan S mid- to long-term strategy.

The development program will replace the Korean military's current 2.5- and 5.0-ton vehicles. It will also develop new bullet resistant vehicles. Each of the standard vehicles will be equipped with the latest commercial technologies, including a 7.0-liter Diesel engine and transmission system, anti-lock brakes, an anti-spin regulator, rear parking assist, around view monitor, satellite navigation, and hot wire seats.

The platform approach will allow Kia to develop additional vehicles for derivations in the future. This includes models with a range of weapons systems and those with more specialized technologies. The vehicles, which use the bare chassis of the Kia Mohave SUV, are also able to be used in a variety of fields outside the military including industrial and leisure.

Kia has developed a conceptual brief of the All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). The company is actively carrying out advanced research and development into several areas of vehicle tech including autonomous driving technology, which Kia says could help deliver supplies.

Additionally, efforts are being made to understand how hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can have a place in future vehicle endeavors. Kia's parent company, Hyundai continues to strengthen their position in regard to the future of hydrogen in the place of gasoline as a fuel for vehicles. Fuel cells can also supply electricity in combat environments.

Kia will begin manufacturing prototypes of mid-size standard vehicles this year and have them undergo evaluations by the Korean Government in 2021.

The technology and knowledge gained from this testing is expected to be employed in future road-going SUVs.

Kia has already produced a range of vehicles for the Korean military, among others. This includes 0.25-, 1.25-, 2.5- and 5-ton models. To-date, Kia has supplied nine model types and 100 derivatives, and produced a total of 140,000 military vehicles.

Kia created Korea's first multipurpose tactical vehicle, a light tactical vehicle that replaces the existing 0.25- and 1.25-ton vehicles. The model was equipped with the engine, automatic transmission, and brake system from the Mohave, and added commercial technologies and military specifications, including electronic four-wheel drive.

The automaker intends to have their vehicles ready for military deployment from 2024, following standardization and initial production tests.

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