Hyundai announced last week that it was launching a new luxury brand, and new reports say the company also plans to spin off another brand, this one dedicated to hybrid and electric powertrains.
Hyundai expects to launch the brand in January, reported The Korea Herald.
“Known by its tentative project name, ‘AE,’ the first model of Hyundai’s new green car brand will be first introduced as a hybrid electric vehicle, followed by PHEV [plug-in hybrid] and full-EV [battery electric] editions, aiming to become the world’s first green car with HEV [hybrid], PHEV and EV types,” the newspaper said.
“Hyundai believes that AE will outperform its global competitor – Toyota’s Prius, which currently marks 21 kilometers per liter in combined fuel efficiency. The five-door hatchback will be equipped with a 1.6-liter Cappa gasoline direct injection engine, an electric motor and transmission tailored for the hybrid models.”
The setup sounds very similar to the possible powertrain for the Hyundai Ioniq, a hybrid currently in development. Spy shots circulating of the hybrid suggest a hatchback profile with a close resemblance to the Toyota Prius, the Ioniq’s main competitor.
Earlier this year, Hyundai and Kia announced that the two companies would be bringing eight new alternatively-fueled vehicles to market between 2016 and 2018. This included four hybrids, two PHEVs, one battery electric vehicle and one fuel cell vehicle. At the time there was no mention of a new brand, and it isn’t clear if these predictions include models built under the AE name. Hyundai was reached out to for further comment on the AE brand, but has not responded.