Race cars usually have an aura about them. They sit all angry in their pit garage, intimidatingly slick tires stacked up nearby, looking ready to bite the uninitiated. But this is different. The aura surrounding the Hyundai Veloster eTCR is palpable, not least because of the warning hangers and the actual cordon keeping people from touching it.
It’s charging, you see. This is an electric race car—Hyundai’s first—and all of the training for its mechanics has come from the company’s motorsport HQ in Germany. It’s strict, then.
As is my briefing about the dangers lurking beneath its baby-blue surface. There’s a chart with the phrase ‘probability of death’ written on it, and an arrow indicating that the car’s 800V power contained lives in its most scarlet-red section. I’m told electrocution “won’t actually hurt—you’ll just be gone.” And there we were all thinking electric vehicles were cute, cuddly, and ready to save the world.
There might be a warning rumble of thunder before lightning strikes, though: A strip of LEDs along the car’s roll cage indicate what state it’s in. Green means it’s safe to touch, allowing the driver to clamber inside and the mechanics to work upon it. Blue signifies it’s charging and should be left alone. Red? Well, it’s never happened, say the engineers. But we suspect red is a reasonable distance from ideal.