Development and pre-production prototypes lead public lives sometimes – they either get snapped by spy photographers or are dressed up for public presentation when the real car isn’t quite finished. But what we rarely see is what happens at the end of their well-used lives. These vehicles are not road legal (some get special exemption to be run on the street for a limited time) and thus cannot be registered nor sold.
For this reason, prototypes usually get scrapped, which, as you can imagine, is incredibly wasteful and not good for the environment. This is particularly bad news for electric vehicles, which are positioned as eco-friendly replacements for conventional petrol- and diesel-powered automobiles.
Hyundai is turning the prototype end-of-life practice on its head, transforming an Ioniq 5 mule into an air purifier. The car, which was built in December 10 last year, was used for noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) tests over the course of its life but remains completely functional, so it would’ve been a shame had it been destined for the crusher in its entirety.
Engineers took out the car’s built-in purifier – which can eliminate fine dust particles – and installed it in its own standalone enclosure made out of bits of the car’s exterior, including the bonnet and doors. The filter draws air through the top (which, by the way, features one of the Ioniq 5’s stylish 20-inch alloy wheels) using a repurposed cooling fan. Even the car’s widescreen display panel and distinctive taillights were used.
This is all tied in to Hyundai’s sustainability efforts with the Ioniq 5, which utilises a large amount of recycled materials on the inside. These include polyethylene (PET) derived from plastic bottles and plant-based (bio-PET) and natural wool yarns; there are also plant-based extracts in the leather and paint.
To recap, the Ioniq 5 is built on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) shared with the Kia EV6. It is available with up to 302 hp and and 605 Nm of torque from its twin electric motors, enabling it to get from zero to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. With a single rear motor and a 72.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, the car is capable of a range of 481 km on the WLTP cycle.
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