Hyundai E4U Demonstrates R&D Love For Electricity, Eggs

Wouldn’t it be cool if you worked for a company that actually encouraged you to be creative? Not only does upper management want your ideas, but they’ll go ahead and make your idea real. Well, there is such a place: Hyundai. At this year’s Seoul Motor Show, the automaker showed off one of the winners of its “IDEA festival 2012.”

Started in 2010, the IDEA festival is an annual contest held by the automaker’s Research & Development Center. According to the company, Hyundai engineers are encouraged to express their creative side and teamwork during that time. The latest contest, “Free Mobility,” looked into how future vehicles could be technological and yet fun to drive.

Around 20 teams and their ideas were considered, with roughly half making it to the finals. Demo versions were actually built and presented during the festival, with the winners not only receiving recognition for their efforts, but were awarded prize money and overseas trips.

Hyundai e4u.jpg

Image courtesy of Hyundai

The winner on display at the Seoul show is called the “E4U.” The three-letter moniker revolves around four ideas: Egg, Evolution, Electricity, and Eco-friendliness. The vehicle, as the ideas imply, is egg-shaped, with a single driver standing and controlling it like a Segway. A single electric motor powers the concept, which has a maximum speed slightly over 18 mph.

This makes the E4U impractical on major streets and roads, but perfect as personal transport on the smaller paths found in most urban areas. The two small wheels jutting from the sides can be folded in, and their panels even removed to help E4U fit the tightest parking spots. The entire vehicle itself weighs around 80 pounds.

There’s no chance Hyundai will actually bring the E4U into production; it’s a study in engineering, nothing more. Other, similar personal transports include the EN-V by Chevrolet, the Flux Personal Transport, and the Electric Personal Transporter. Of the three, the Personal Transporter is the only one in production and sold to the public where it retails around $1,800.

Joel Arellano is a writing professional for over two decades, working in such diverse industries as finance, aerospace, telecomm, and medical devices. He has covered the automotive industry for more than six years, and his articles and blog posts can found on at Autoblog, Autoblog Green, Automotive.com, motortrend.com, trucktrend.com, and automobilemag.com.