While we’re at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we have a pretty unusual opportunity: lots of important people in the automotive world are here, trapped in the Convention Center, with little ability to escape or run. They can yell, sure, but they’re miles from where anyone will hear them! Go ahead, car company executives and designers and engineers, yell, yell all you want!
We took advantage of this unique situation by snagging people like the head of Hyundai’s N division, Till Wartenberg, and forcing him to talk to us on The Autopian Podcast, presented by our friends at Marble.
To make it less of a chore, we also managed to get the fantastic Kristen Lee, of MotorTrend, to help us out by asking some actually informed and intelligent questions, which proved a nice balance to whatever the hell it was that I did. We also asked her to talk about her new documentary, China’s Big Bet on Mexico, so you should check that out, too.
Till had some really fascinating things to say about the challenges of making an electric car into a real performance car, something you could take to the track on weekends, something that handles nimbly despite weighing over 4,000 pounds, something that is actually exciting and compelling, deep down in your netherwhatsits.
One of the things he let slip is that they put vibrators in the original 5 N Concept. Yes! They vibrated the seats (not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter). Unfortunately, this was too intense for normal people and they took it out. Listen to it here:
Till also noted that Hyundai’s formula for making fun EVs is considered an actual secret, like Coke-formula secret, and that they did consider incorporating “vibrators” into the seats of their cars. To shake it? To simulate an engine misfire, or a flat? He didn’t say. But it’s a fascinating idea.
Also, Til speculated with me on the future of automotive olfactory simulation and explained the three reasons Hyundai’s sporting division uses the letter N, one of which is that N looks like a chicane.
I told him that chicanes are there to make you slow down, but he was undeterred.