GOYANG, March 30 (Korea Bizwire) — Carmakers have ramped up their electrification plans at the Seoul Mobility Show as countries move faster toward a zero-emission future amid global warming.
Car manufacturers, including sports car brands like Porsche, are filling their portfolios with more electric vehicles (EVs) to survive the upcoming era of electrification.
Under new European emissions regulations, which are being phased in from next year, manufacturers are required to sharply reduce carbon emissions by their cars, or face steep fines.
At this year’s Seoul show, two pure electric models stole the spotlight: the EV 9 flagship SUV unveiled by Hyundai Motor Co.’s smaller affiliate Kia Corp. and the Torres EVX SUV showcased by KG Mobility, formerly known as SsangYong Motor Co.
The EV9 is Kia’s second model equipped with Hyundai Motor Group’s dedicated EV platform, called E-GMP, after the EV6 SUV launched in 2021.
The three-row seat electric SUV comes with a 99.8 kWh battery and is expected to travel more than 500 kilometers on a single charge.
Kia plans to gradually launch the EV9 in the United States, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific markets in the second half following its domestic launch in the second quarter.
It plans to add the EV9 GT-line and the performance EV9 GT models to beef up its EV lineup later this year. The GT-line model adopts the design of the performance GT model to meet diverse customer demands.
The maker of K5 sedans and Sorento SUVs said it will introduce the Level 3 autonomous driving technology through the Highway Driving Pilot program in the GT-line model.
A Level 3 car allows lane changes and other autonomous driving functions to work without intervention by the driver.
KG Mobility came up with the Torres EVX, which can travel around 500 km per charge, and three concept models that include the ‘O100′ electric pickup. It plans to launch the Torres EVX in the local market in the second half.
“The name change is in line with the company’s plan to transform itself into a total mobility solutions provider. And the electric pickup concept codenamed ‘O100′ will be a game changer in the EV pickup market,” KG Mobility Chairman Kwak Jea-sun said.
The Seoul Bankruptcy Court approved SsangYong Motor’s debt payment plans in August after the court picked a local consortium led by chemical-to-steel firm KG Group as the final bidder to acquire the debt-laden company in June.
In October, SsangYong graduated from the court-led debt rescheduling program 1 1/2 years after it was placed under court receivership.
Hyundai’s independent Genesis brand displayed the all-electric Genesis X convertible concept at the show as well as the electrified GV70 SUV and G80 models.
Among imported brands, Mercedes-Benz Korea displayed two pure electric models, the new EQE 500 4MATIC SUV and the new Mercedes-AMG EQE sedan, ahead of their local launches this year.
Mercedes-Benz has placed a series of electric models, including the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ sedan, the EQE 350+ sedan and the new EQS 580 4MATIC SUV, in the Korean market in the past two years.
Another German carmaker, BMW, introduced the BMW ix5 hydrogen fuel-cell prototype and the MINI Electric Resolute edition, along with the first-ever electric model, the new XM, under the high-performance M brand.
BMW said it will be “a benchmark in future mobility” by beefing up its EV lineup.
Porsche Korea showcased two battery-powered models — the Taycan GTS sedan and the Taycan 4S hatchback — in the biennial exhibition, as the German sports car brand seeks to increase the portion of EVs in its overall lineup to 80 percent by 203O.
Two out of five Porsche cars sold in Korea are pure electric or plug-in hybrid models.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor displayed the eighth-generation Sonata sedan’s facelifted model, Sonata The Edge, and British carmaker INEOS Automotive Ltd. promoted its first model, the Grenadier SUV, at the show before its planned domestic launch later this year.
The four-wheel-drive Grenadier comes with BMW’s B58 3.0-liter diesel engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission from German auto parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG, and axles from Carraro Axles, an Italy-based manufacturer of integrated transmission systems.
Traditional auto shows, once touted as touchpoints where the auto industry gathered to promote new vehicles and technologies, are in transition due to the electrification trends.
Carmakers increasingly look to non-automobile shows, such as the Consumer Electronics Show, or other routes to promote their EVs.
To go beyond the auto industry, the Frankfurt Motor Show rebranded itself as the International Automobile Exhibition, and the Tokyo Motor Show will return this fall under the new name of Japan All-Industry show.
South Korea has two major biennial auto shows — the Seoul Mobility Show and the Busan International Motor Show.
To maintain the existing shows, industry officials have asked the motor show committees to change the manner of exhibition by bringing together different sectors, such as chipmakers, urban air mobility firms, robotics makers and startups with advanced mobility technologies.