A virtual dual-clutch gearbox (DCT) dubbed ‘N e-shift’ is among the most interesting of a suite of technologies being developed for Hyundai’s first high-performance electric vehicle (EV), the Ioniq 5 N.

    In development onboard the N brand’s ‘rolling lab’ concept known as the RN22e, said N e-shift feature seeks to match the overall feel of a paddle-shift action of the DCT in a petrol-fuelled N model.

    There’s also intended to be an accompanying sound that mirrors the engine revs right up to the bap, bap, bap of the rev limiter, via speakers. At least, that’s the part the engineers are working on now in readiness for sign-off in around April or May 2023.

    “The idea is to come pretty close to the feel and sound of the DCT in the i30 N hatch,” said Hyundai Executive Technical Advisor and all-round N brand guru Albert Biermann.

    “This is what we want to deliver, complete with the same some jolt and downshift vibrations you experience in our ICE N cars.

    “Sound-wise, though, it’s very challenging, especially those pops and crackles you get in the i30 N, but we’re still working on this technology to bring the DCT in-car experience of a combustion engine car to similar emotional levels in our Ioniq 5 N EV.

    “That’s the target.

    “When we started building an Ioniq EV concept, four or five years ago at our Namyang R&D centre, we were just using internal speakers and they weren’t enough, just okay, so we added external speakers and then started simulating shift vibrations and forces you would associate with the DCT in an i30 N.

    “But now, in the Ioniq 5 N, this development is at the stage of fine-tuning, but we’re certainly not done yet, we’re still adding things like the rev limiter and the various sound characters you can choose between.

    “I’m calling it ‘VGS’ mode (Virtual Grin Shift) and to activate it you hit a button on the steering wheel and then pull both paddles at the same time to engage the virtual shift mode.

    “Obviously in traffic, you won’t want to use paddle-shifters in the Ioniq 5 N, so you just turn it off by pulling both paddles at once, at least, that’s how we have it on the RN22e Prototype.

    “You’ll also be able to adjust regen levels with the shifting, but we’re still working on that, as we are with the character sounds.

    “We call it N Sound Plus, and by the time we launch Ioniq 5 N, drivers will be able to choose from several different character sounds or even create and name your own sounds.

    “I expect you’ll also be able to download new sounds over the air, which we create, but stuff like this will involve on-going development.”

    Ioniq 5 N is expected to launch locally at the end of 2023 or in early 2024.

    MORE: 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N EV teased

    Anthony Crawford
    Anthony Crawford is a Senior Road Tester at CarExpert.
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