Korean de­signs prom­ise a shake-up

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

TWO cars from Korea prom­ise to shake up de­signs in the in­dus­try. The first is the next Kia Op­tima. Fol­low­ing its de­but at the New York In­ter­na­tional Auto Show in 2010, the Kia Op­tima be­came a cat­a­lyst for the brand’s tremen­dous growth and has been the com­pany’s best-sell­ing ve­hi­cle in the U.S. for three years run­ning. Now, five years later, Kia will re­turn to New York on Wed­nes­day, April 1, for the world de­but of a pas­sion­ately de­signed and ob­ses­sively crafted all-new ver­sion of its popular mid­size sedan.

Mean­while the Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany has re­ceived the Jury Prize at the JEC In­no­va­tion Awards 2015 for its in­no­va­tive car­bon-fi­bre frame de­sign used in the In­trado con­cept car. The prize was pre­sented dur­ing the JEC Europe 2015 con­fer­ence in Paris this month.

The JEC In­no­va­tion Awards recog­nise tech­ni­cal ex­cel­lence, mar­ket po­ten­tial and orig­i­nal­ity, re­ward­ing the most in­no­va­tive com­pos­ite so­lu­tions world­wide. The or­gan­i­sa­tion se­lected the light­weight and fu­tur­is­tic frame of In­trado, which com­ple­ments the con­cept’s ad­vanced fuel-cell pow­er­train and de­sign, rep­re­sent­ing the pro­gres­sive spirit of Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany.

At the core of In­trado’s pi­o­neer­ing frame are car­bon-fi­bre re­in­forced plas­tic (CFRP) sec­tions, which are based on car­bon-fi­bre tubes.

This ap­proach al­lows for more ef­fec­tive and flex­i­ble use of the car­bon ma­te­rial, avoid­ing of­f­cuts and long en­er­gy­con­sum­ing prepa­ra­tion pro­cesses. The unique process is a ma­jor for­ward step when com­pared to con­ven­tional steel and other CFRP chas­sis ar­chi­tec­tures.

The min­i­mal­is­tic, self-sup­port­ing skele­ton-like frame struc­ture is highly sta­ble and ex­tremely light weight, sav­ing 70% weight com­pared to a con­ven­tional chas­sis and around 30% on the over­all ve­hi­cle weight, with­out com­pro­mis­ing safety at­tributes.

One es­sen­tial el­e­ment of the frame’s over­all rigid­ity is the float­ing cen­tre con­sole beam.

This beam pro­vides In­trado with its unique strength and sup­ports the frame’s in­te­gra­tion with the fuel cell pow­er­train com­po­nents.


The next Kia Op­tima will be shown in New York on April 1.


The Hyundai In­trado has won its first de­sign awards.

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