Hyundai Confirms Longer-Range EVs Will Be Technology Of Choice

Hyundai Motor Corp. is raising the bar on its eco-car strategy and a promise that it could have one of the longest range electric vehicles out there.

The South Korean automaker will be marketing its next round of all-electric vehicles at luxury buyers and those interested in the utility of a small SUV.

An electric sedan under its Genesis luxury brand is scheduled to be launched in 2021. The company will also launch an electric version of its Hyundai Kona small SUV in the first half of next year.

Hyundai is taking a very competitive stance on range per charge for these two new models during a time when range has become a hot topic. The Genesis electric sedan will go 500 kilometers (310 miles) per charge, the automaker said. The electric Hyundai Kona is supposed to have a range of 390 km (242 miles).

Specifications haven’t been released on the electric vehicles’ battery sizes, and how the miles per charge are being measured. They’re likely to be shorter range in the U.S. under Environmental Protection Agency standards. An example would be the the Hyundai Ioniq Electric being listed on the Hyundai corporate website with a battery range of 280 kilometers (174 miles) using New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) measures. The EPA lists the electric car as having 124 miles of combined city/highway range.

Through the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands, the company says it will be rolling out 31 eco-friendly models by 2020. That up from 22 models announced in 2014. It will cover battery electric models, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles.

Like Toyota and Honda, Hyundai will stay in the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market, but various market forces have gotten the automaker to prioritize EVs.

“We’re strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles,” Executive Vice President Lee Kwang-guk told a news conference, calling the technology mainstream and realistic.

There will be eight battery-powered and two fuel-cell vehicles to hit the mark, the company said.

In July, the company announced that all-electric versions of the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro will be coming out in the first half of 2018.

Separately, Hyundai unveiled the second fuel cell vehicles, following the Tucson fuel cell SUV. A new mid-sized SUV will count out in Korea early next year, and it will then go over to the U.S. and Europe markets.

The company said that, like the new EVs in the pipeline, it will be longer range than the current offering. The Tucson fuel cell goes about 415 km (257 miles) on a tank full of hydrogen, and the new midsize fuel cell SUV is expected to go more than 580 km (360 miles) per fueling.

A fuel cell bus is scheduled to roll out later this year, and a fuel cell sedan is in the works. However, the company does see EVs as being the predominant technology for now. FCVs are still too costly.

SEE ALSO: Pending All-Electric Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro Will Double Hyundai-Kia’s EV Production

“Hyundai will achieve economies of scale for fuel cell cars by 2035 at the earliest,” said Lee Hang-koo, a senior research fellow at Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade.

“Before that, Hyundai has no choice but to rely on battery cars,” he said.

The company clearly has a challenge ahead in making its eco-car strategy profitable. Sales have been soft of the Tucson fuel cell vehicle, which trails behind the market leading Toyota Mirai.

The Hyundai Ioniq has gained a great deal of attention and enthusiasm over the past year. According to the July 2017 Dashboard, there have been 200 units sold of the Ioniq EV in the U.S. this year through the end of July.


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