Hyundai Motor Company took a big leap by launching the Ioniq and Kia Niro as stand-alone vehicles with green powertrains. Now, the Korean automaker is preparing to make an even bigger push into the alternative fuel realm with new electric vehicles and its first ever dedicated EV platform.
Next year, the Hyundai brand will introduce a small electric SUV based on an existing underpinning, according to Reuters, citing the automaker’s eco-boss Lee Ki-sang. After that model debuts, Kia will introduce a similar offering. Both electric models will have a range of more than 300 km (186 miles) per charge, Lee said. He also promised the subcompact or compact models will be “more competitive” than their rivals.
Although it will take some time, creating a new EV platform will solidify the automaker’s commitment to battery-electric cars. “The electric-vehicle platform will require high up-front investments but we are doing this to prepare for the future,” Lee said.
Hyundai recently confirmed it would launch a new electric vehicle for its Genesis luxury brand. The model is expected to launch in 2021 after a plug-in hybrid of an existing Genesis vehicle comes out in 2019.
Today, EVs account for roughly 1 percent of total vehicle sales around the globe, but Lee expects that number to increase to 10 percent by 2025. Fuel cell vehicles, he says, won’t likely catch on until around 2025. One of the first to launch the technology, Hyundai introduced the ix35 Fuel Cell globally in 2013 before bringing it to the U.S. market as the Tucson Fuel Cell in 2014.
All signs say that Hyundai is still committed to fuel cell vehicles although they may not reap the same shorter-term rewards as electric cars. At the Geneva Motor Show this year, Hyundai showed off the FE Fuel Cell Concept, a preview of its next-generation hydrogen SUV that is expected to travel nearly 500 miles on one tank of hydrogen. Kia will soon follow suit by introduce its very first fuel cell vehicle.