Hyundai Motor will be making a comeback in the electric car market, a segment that the carmaker has long ignored after the dismal failure of its first full-electric BlueOne compact back in 2010.
According to company executives on Thursday, the Korean auto giant now plans to launch a completely different EV compact sedan in 2016.
The new car will come equipped with an 80-kilowatt electric motor and its driving range is expected to be more than 200 kilometers on a single charge. Its 27-kilowatt-hour battery pack will be supplied by LG Chem, Hyundai’s strategic battery partner.
The new EV plan comes after Hyundai has poured more resources into hydrogen-powered vehicles, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors has already launched several full-electric versions of its Ray and Soul compacts.
In February 2013, Hyundai became the first carmaker to start mass production of a fuel-cell vehicle, the Tucson ix, with similar launches by other global carmakers like Daimler and Toyota expected from 2015.
According to company data, sales of eco-friendly vehicles such as hybrid and electric cars increased 10 percent to reach 1.74 million units last year. When Toyota cars made up 68 percent of the sales, Hyundai’s portion remained a mere 4 percent.
“In order to narrow the apparent gap with Japanese brands, we are seeking to secure our competitiveness in pricing and production,” said Lee Ki-sang, senior vice president and head of the Eco Friendly Vehicle R&D Center at Hyundai.
“Unlike in Japan where the market has neared the saturation point, the eco-friendly car market in countries like Europe and North America that will be our main targets is still in an early stage. This is why we believe we have a shot at reversing the Japanese dominance.“
By 2018, Hyundai aims to complete the full lineup of its eco-friendly vehicles ranging from hybrids and plug-in hybrid versions of its flagship models such as the Grandeur and Sonata to the new full-electric and hydrogen-powered cars.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)