Hyundai has announced plans for an new all-electric platform and luxury branding ahead of Korea Autoshow
Hyundai senior vice president, Lee Ki-sang, confirmed the automaker’s change of direction as it makes plans to concentrate to move beyond fuel-cell hydrogen cars, adding: “The electric-vehicle platform will require high up-front investments but we are doing this to prepare for the future.”
Hyundai released the well-received Ioniq Electric at the beginning of 2016 and now intends to invest further in long-range EVs. The move is followed up by Hyundai’s intention to increase EV production from 1% to 10%, while production for the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle market is a longer-term goal.
The first vehicle planned is expected to be an SUV and a prototype was spotted earlier this year. Specific details on the SUV have not been released but a bystander reported that it was parked at a charging point, and looked similar to the Kia Niro.
With the SUV, Hyundai is aiming for 64kWh battery packs and a range increase of at least 100 miles on the Ioniq. Head of green car operations, Lee believes that the vehicle will manage more than 186 miles and be “more competitive” than rival offerings.
Batteries will likely be sourced from Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL), in order to keep in line with Chinese subsidy regulations.
For the first time, the platform will include a dedicated chassis. Up until now, Hyundai and Kia have shared a chassis, used in both the Ioniq and the Niro for both plug-in hybrid and all-electric versions, but the parent company now wants to invest in a dedicated platform as it expands the range. The chassis is extremely likely to follow Tesla’s ‘skateboard’ method so the heavy battery can be mounted close to the floor. This also allows the vehicle to have a larger battery and more cabin space.
Hyundai also also confirmed that an all-electric vehicle will be released under its luxury brand, Genesis, in 2021. Prior to that, a luxury plug-in hybrid will hit the market in 2019.
Evidently, Hyundai recognises its need to be competitive in the market, not only in terms of power-source but also in terms of the car models it produces. SUVs are extremely popular and are a good way for the company to offset the high investment costs and accepted initial losses.
In the statement to Reuters, Hi Investment & Securities analyst, Ko Tae-bong stated that “Hyundai will be left behind the market if it doesn’t offer long-distance models, like 300 km, 500 km and 600 km.”