Home » Listen Now – The Head Of Hyundai’s N Division Says They Experimented With Vibrating Seats, But They Were Too Intense: Podcast

Listen Now – The Head Of Hyundai’s N Division Says They Experimented With Vibrating Seats, But They Were Too Intense: Podcast

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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I told him that chicanes are there to make you slow down, but he was undeterred.

 

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Turbeaux
Turbeaux
23 days ago

I feel like someone must have paid Till to add in that Mercedes-Benz invented the car just to see if Jason could hold it together.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago

“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”

Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to next hunt down the highest exec you can find from Mazda and ask them WTF is going on with that 56% TE Skyactiv 3 tech! Did it fail? Are they in stealth mode? Is it about to be released?

Where is it?

Slower Louder
Slower Louder
24 days ago

Dear friends, I enjoyed that podcast SO much, so goofy and yet informative. Kristen Lee, you are such a professional, I will watch your documentary and I wish you every success. David, the following is unfair so don’t read it, and I wish you every happiness, but if you had just like roasted a chicken in a pan, with some lovely garlic, onions, and potatoes, and not in a valve cover or intake manifold or whatever, who knows what might have happened. And Mr Torchinsky, you did great! We your acolytes know you are never being irrelevant and you bring the special sauce. Delish! And your graphics for Autopian Angle or maybe Autopianopolis or Dymaxion City or whatever are irresistible and would have cost any normal corporate entity several hundred thousand dollars. I’ll pause to catch my breath.

Gee See
Gee See
24 days ago

I still remember the article about Maserati engine vibration elicits a “biological effect” on women 😉 I guess Hyundai and make the effect more “direct”?

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a15149764/a-revving-maserati-engine-has-a-biological-effect-on-women-car-news/

Last edited 24 days ago by Gee See
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
24 days ago

I kinda get the idea I think, but ICE vehicles (that most people buy/drive anyway…not us here of course) haven’t really vibrated like that in a long time, so it’s not like there’s pent-up demand for something we just had that’s going away with the EV transition.

Is the idea to simulate something we have a vague expectation of largely through other means (media, etc.) than what we’ve actually experienced I wonder…

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
24 days ago

I wish people would stop trying to make EVs sound and feel like ICE vehicles. It adds stupid cost and nullifies what should be considered advantages to EVs: silent, smooth travel. This is a car, not a driving simulator.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
24 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

He said it could be turned off

S C
S C
24 days ago

I don’t care whether it can be turned off – if this useless option is bundled in a package that has a feature that I really want, I’m taking my money elsewhere.

Gee See
Gee See
24 days ago
Reply to  S C

All in the software.. I don’t think it adds to the actual BoM.. the sound(s) is already a requirement for safety. Tesla tried to give option to the user to change a few but got into trouble with the authorities.

Last edited 24 days ago by Gee See
A. Barth
A. Barth
24 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I feel the same way about vegetarian/vegan food: stop trying to make it look/taste/chew like meat, because it doesn’t and carnivores are unlikely to be persuaded that way.

Veg/vegan foods and EVs (including hybrids) are different experiences from what went before: let them be their own standalone things with their own merits.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
24 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

This is exactly my argument against the “Mach-e” choice – it’s a great vehicle all by itself, let it create its own cool line. I’d like it a lot more if it were the Ford Galaxy and had a solar-system-y logo or something.

Timbuck2
Timbuck2
22 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

That would actually be really cool.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
24 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

With you on that.

Gee See
Gee See
24 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

For me EV gives immediate feedback when you get pushed back to your seat and the high pitch motor whine.. that is good enough for me.

Timbuck2
Timbuck2
22 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

For real. I would much have a cool sounding electric motor then fake ICE noises.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
24 days ago
Last edited 24 days ago by My Goat Ate My Homework
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
24 days ago

Just want to compliment you guys on building the Autopian brand through events like this. The booth looks amazing, and the team actually looks like a bunch of professionals (last night’s trivia session notwithstanding). Well done.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
24 days ago

So Fancy Kristen, just basically teed him up for all the good press. At the same time Jason argues with him LOL

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
24 days ago

Kristen – consumate professional

Jason – curmudgeonly lunatic

Turbeaux
Turbeaux
23 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

David knew what would happen if he brought Torch out in public

Drew
Drew
24 days ago

I told him that chicanes are there to make you slow down, but he was undeterred.

Unfortunately, so are many drivers around here. Chicanes make for a fun little jog in the road if you don’t give a shit about pedestrians or other drivers, as seems to be a popular mindset.

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