Hyundai Seven concept EV

Hyundai's 'Seven' concept EV is a self-driving lounge

Don't be surprised if a conventional version reaches the road.

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Hyundai is joining the ranks of automakers envisioning self-driving cars as living rooms. The brand has revealed its previously-teased "Seven" concept EV, and it's built for an era when you might only occasionally take the helm. The SUV centers on a lounge-like interior where the driver's control stick retracts in autonomous mode, letting them and their passengers socialize thanks to two swivelling chairs and an L-shaped chaise. There's even a mini fridge, shoe refreshers and a panoramic screen that offers entertainment or ambiance.

The Seven's designers also took greater advantage of the liberties an electric vehicle offers. In addition to using the flat floor for a lounge, Hyundai pushed the wheelbase to a lengthy 10.5 feet without increasing the overall size. You'll also find a low leading hood edge and a "streamlined" roof. EVs live or die on aerodynamics, and the company promised an aerodynamically "pure" body despite the SUV profile.

This is also clearly a pandemic-era concept. The airflow system borrows from airliners with horizontal and vertical modes that reduce cross-contamination and otherwise protect hygiene. You'll find UVC lights that sterilize the environment once passengers leave, including storage.

And yes, this is actually a moving car. Hyundai is hoping for a range over 300 miles, and offers 350kW charging that brings the Seven from a 10 percent charge to 80 percent in roughly 20 minutes.

Hyundai makes it very clear this is a concept you won't buy. It does serve as a preview of a future electric SUV, though, so you can expect a more conservative take that joins the Ioniq 5 in the company's expanding EV lineup. Consider the Seven a preview of both short- and long-term goals.

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Hyundai's 'Seven' concept EV is a self-driving lounge