While developing a new vehicle, automakers create dozens of prototype and preproduction versions that are not legally marketed to the public. A few are kept for future development or preservation, but most are recycled or crushed.
When faced with this issue for Ioniq 5 EV preproduction SUV, Hyundai unleashed its engineers to discover a new and more useful life for it. So what is their plan of action? A large air purifier.
According to a new video, Hyundai’s engineers first disassembled the all-electric crossover, then used many of the vehicle’s components to create a giant air filter. The result, which resembles a smart speaker, is way more significant than you might imagine. For example, the cylindrical housing is slightly larger than the 20-inch alloy wheel that serves as the purifier’s case’s top, and the side panels are fashioned from portions of the vehicle’s doors and hood.
The cabin air filter and a cooling fan are at the center of the system, and they’re controlled by the infotainment touchscreen placed to the housing. Along with the vehicle’s appealing pixelated LED taillamps and the digital instrument cluster display, the Ioniq 5’s logo appears on the case.
Other vehicle components have been reconditioned for many years. On the other hand, EVs carry with them their own set of challenges, notably the question of what to do with their pricey and sophisticated battery packs. We’ve already seen second-life experiments for EV batteries as backup power supplies for homes, offices, and power grids begin in earnest for more than a decade. Still, there’s much more work to be done before such operations become economically viable.
Until then, Hyundai’s creative reworking of prototype parts looks to be more for marketing purposes than a simple production-intent solution for end-of-life car components. Although allowing engineers to focus on reusing parts is a worthwhile mental exercise that could pay off in the future.
Besides, converting this vehicle’s components into an air purifier seems suitable, not only because electric cars are typically cleaner but also because “Ioniq 5” has always sounded like something you’d see on the box of an air filter at stores.