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Hyundai’s Prophecy concept looks like the baby of a Porsche and a Model 3

An electric car with joysticks instead of a steering wheel

Images: Hyundai

Hyundai has unveiled a new electric concept car called the Prophecy that, frankly, looks like a Porsche 911 and a Model 3 were smashed together and cloaked in obsidian.

The new concept was revealed as part of the now-canceled 2020 Geneva Motor Show, and Hyundai is really only showing off its design chops with it. There are no specs assigned to the Prophecy or claims of a production date. It’s simply a design object meant to give people an idea of what Hyundai sees as one possible future for its electric vehicles.

As a design object, I think it works pretty well. Yes, it borrows its back end from Stuttgart and its front end — especially the shape of the headlights and the curvature of the hood — from Silicon Valley, but that’s not surprising. Hyundai has a pretty well-established reputation of taking design cues from more premium cars and offering them to customers on a budget.

Those two ends are joined by a nearly seamless curved design (made possible by clamshell doors) that is far more luxurious-looking than you’d typically expect from Hyundai. And the whole thing is clad in this shiny, inky black finish. It all works really well for me, though Hyundai is a bit more... proud? In the press release, Hyundai says the car has an “iconic silhouette of perfect proportions,” and it boldly claims that its designers “have achieved the Ultimate Automotive Form.” I guess if you’re going to call a car “Prophecy,” you might as well go wild in the promotional copy. Or, maybe this is why Hyundai is working on air taxis with Uber.

Hyundai says its designers “have achieved the Ultimate Automotive Form”

Two things that really stand out about the Prophecy are its “pixelated” headlights and taillights. Hyundai teased this idea on the chunkier and less sophisticated-looking 45 Concept unveiled last year, but it’s more naturally integrated in the Prophecy. Hyundai says these will show up in future models, which is why they’re on display here.

The interior of the Prophecy doesn’t feature a steering wheel, as Hyundai is imagining that this car would feature a high level of autonomy. Instead, there are two “joysticks” — one in the center console and one in the driver’s side door — that drivers can “pivot left and right” to control the vehicle.

Being a modern concept car, the Prophecy is, of course, full of screens. There’s a dashboard-spanning screen up front, and the rest of the interior is actually ringed with screens, too. What’s more, the dashboard also flips up to — yes — reveal another smaller screen underneath.

It’s probably unlikely that Hyundai will make a road version of the Prophecy considering all the talk about how the concept car sets up the design language for the company’s many forthcoming electric and hybrid vehicles. That doesn’t mean it’s completely out of the question, though. Should something like the Prophecy ever come to market, here’s hoping Hyundai drops some of Rimac’s tech into the final version. What better way for the Korean automaker to recoup some of the $90 million it dropped on the boutique Croatian supercar company last year than to make an electric 911 / Model 3 mashup that’s just as fast — or maybe even faster — as the real thing?