SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday it will dramatically beef up its pure-electric car lineup in the next eight years in line with global carmakers’ latest push to go electric.
Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. are planning to increase the number of all-electric vehicles to 14 by 2025 from the current two models, Hyundai’s Ioniq EV and Kia’s Soul EV, Hyundai Motor Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang said in a recent press briefing.
To strengthen its EV lineup, Hyundai Motor plans to launch the electric version of the Kona subcompact sport utility vehicle with a driving range of over 400 kilometers on a single charge in 2018. In the following year, Kia Motors plans to launch the all-electric Genesis luxury sedan in 2021 with a range of over 500 km, the executive said.
The move comes as global rivals such as Volkswagen Group and the Renault Nissan Alliance gear up for volume production of electric cars following Volkswagen’s dieselgate emissions cheating scandal and governments’ regulations on high-emission vehicles.
The Seoul government is also moving to adopt stricter rules against fine-dust-emitting diesel vehicles following dieselgate, and the appetite for less-emitting cars among local consumers is on the increase.
In a broader strategy, Hyundai Motor Group aims to cement its second ranking position after Toyota Motor Corp. in terms of environment-friendly vehicle sales by increasing the number of eco-friendly cars to 38 by 2025 from the previously set target of 31 by 2020, Lee said.
Eco-friendly vehicles include all-electric, gasoline hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
As for hydrogen fuel cell cars where Hyundai Motor Group takes the lead in technologies, the world’s fifth-largest carmaker will continue to put a focus on the next-generation vehicle, the executive said.
“There are more than 1,200 carmakers which are capable of producing electric cars globally. But there are only three companies which have technologies to produce hydrogen fuel cell cars. Hydrogen fuel cell cars will ultimately be the right choice for carmakers,” he said.
The Korean carmaker said it will continue to focus on hydrogen fuel cell cars in addition to electric cars going forward.
A fuel cell car emits only water vapor as it converts stored hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle’s motor.
“We are planning to launch a hydrogen fuel cell car in the domestic market next year but there are few fuel stations for the models. We hope the government will come up with plans to add the infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell cars to existing fuel stations,” he said.
In the January-October period, Hyundai sold a total of 13,909 Ioniq EVs globally, more than tripling from 3,379 a year earlier. Kia sold 7,398 Soul EVs in the first 10 months, up 7.6 percent from 6,878 a year ago, according to the companies.