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Hyundai Prophecy Concept: Electric Car Future Foretold or Flashy False Prophet?

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Looks like: A PlayStation 4 render of the Atari-era first-generation Saab 900

Defining characteristics: Hyundai’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design language has reached the “Ultimate Automotive Form.” Oh, and pixelated exterior lighting elements.

Ridiculous features: Two joysticks — one in the center of the cabin and one attached to the driver’s door — instead of a steering wheel

Chance of being mass-produced: As a stand-alone car, low, but expect many of the Prophecy’s elements to be used either partially or in their entirety in future Hyundais

Debuting via video after the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show was canceled, the Prophecy is the latest electric vehicle concept from Hyundai. The four-door, four-seat Prophecy fulfills the promise of its name by providing a vision of what Hyundai’s future electric vehicles might look like — at least in part — unless Hyundai wants to commit to making the boattail sedan.

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The exterior of the Prophecy, besides the boattail, looks a bit, well … generic. Other outlets have described it as having a Porsche 911-like design, but that feels more like clickbait than anything. In front, the “pixelated” LED headlights and taillights use individual lighting elements and can be used for sequential functions. In low-light situations, however, where the “pixels” can’t be seen, the headlights have a distinct Lamborghini Diablo shape — which, fun fact, used the headlights from the Nissan 300ZX. There’s still an air vent under the headlights, which Hyundai says allows for more effective battery cooling.

The rear is much more visually interesting, with lighting elements making up almost the entire tail. The portions that will function most frequently as taillights are vertical pieces that extend farther out than the rest of the pixels. Also at the rear is an integrated spoiler made of clear acrylic to show off its many components. This intentional display of functional pieces as part of the design is also used in the various exterior lighting pieces.

Inside, the one thing about the Prophecy that should absolutely enter production immediately is the tartan plaid seat fabric. The rest of the interior is more typical concept-car fare, with the steering wheel having been replaced by two joysticks and a dashboard that can rotate based on a voice command, all eliciting New Agey descriptions like “[t]he flow of clean air over the interior’s wool-based felt carpet is inspired by the flow of water in nature.”

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Don’t expect to see this Prophecy hit the streets in its entirety anytime soon, but be on the lookout for elements to appear as Hyundai continues to commit to an electrified vehicle lineup.

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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and Cars.com in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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