Hyundai announced a big push forward in green technologies yesterday, and it’s heavy on electrification and light on hydrogen.
Speaking at a JD Power annual event on the eve of the L.A. Auto Show, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski announced plans to release 14 new green vehicle models in the U.S. by 2020 to meet looming federal fuel economy and California zero emission vehicle targets.
The lengthy lineup will include five all-new hybrids, four plug-in hybrids, four battery electric vehicles, and one new fuel-cell offering.
Despite just one fuel-cell offering, Zuchowski insists Hyundai is committed to the technology. “From a technology standpoint, we think hydrogen is the best option.”
Hyundai will dedicate more of its new lineup to electrified vehicles, with four of them scheduled to be all-electric. Zuchowski said his company has a product with a “300-mile range in the plans.”
All of the Hyundai battery electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models will come with a lifetime warranty on the battery, Zuchowski said.
Currently, Hyundai only offers three alternative powertrain models in the U.S., with the Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid and Tucson Fuel Cell. The Ioniq will be one of the 14 new models, according to Zuchowski. The Ioniq will be launched soon and comes in three variations: a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric version.
Sister brand Kia also has plans for 14 green models to be launched globally by 2020, and which were disclosed last month.
Hitting the targets on upcoming federal CAFÉ standards and California ZEV rules can wake Zuchowski “up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.” That stress level has increased with the tepid levels of enthusiasm that U.S. consumers have shown toward green vehicles, due much to low gasoline prices.
Missing the targets could mean as much as $125 million in annual CAFE and ZEV fines for Hyundai. Zuchowski said the company’s strategy is not only to meet the government standards, but do so with vehicles that solve current green car shortcomings: cost, battery range, utility, and performance.
Zuchowski said that even though automakers have asked the incoming Trump administration to potentially pause a key step in the current midterm evaluation of President Obama’s 2025 mpg and emissions rules, Hyundai is eager to take an active role in meeting the current requirements.
“At Hyundai we are all about new thinking and new possibilities,” Zuchowski said. “And nowhere is that mantra captured more accurately than in our uncompromised and comprehensive commitment to achieving CAFE and ZEV compliance by 2025.”