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Hyundai develops app that lets drivers 'tune' their EV's performance

The app could be made available for Kia and Hyundai cars in the future.

Hyundai EV performance app
Swipe right for more torque.

Changing your car's performance used to involve lots of time in the garage with screwdrivers and wrenches. That may not be the case for future electric cars from Hyundai and Kia, which you may one day be able to tweak with just the swipe of a phone app. Hyundai announced Monday it has developed an app that allows owners to easily tweak their electric car's performance.

Hyundai's app allows for adjusting seven different car settings, including maximum motor torque, "responsiveness," the amount of regenerative braking used and even how much energy is used to power the climate control. The app can also suggest specific settings, whether to help conserve battery power for the remainder of a journey or to spice up the car's sportiness for a bit more fun. Hyundai said it also might offer different recommended settings for, say, mountainous versus urban roads.

Changing the performance of a car like this Hyundai Kona Electric could be as simple as touching an app.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Most modern electric vehicles already offer some driving-mode adjustments. Many allow for drivers to toggle between different rates of regenerative braking and power delivery, such as Tesla's "Ludicrous" mode. But Hyundai's idea is to make even more settings available through an app.

Drivers would also be able to share their performance profiles online and try other peoples' setups. And in future rental or car-sharing situations, Hyundai said it would be possible for a driver to use his or her preferred performance profile even on a car he or she were just borrowing. To qualm security fears, Hyundai said it would encrypt all of the performance settings using blockchain technology to avoid tampering.

Though there are no firm dates yet, the company says this technology "is expected" to be offered in future Hyundai and Kia models. Hyundai Motor Group has said it plans to launch 23 electric vehicles by 2025, so there's big potential to roll out this technology to lots of drivers.