Korean automaker SsangYong Motor says it may be rolling out three battery electric vehicles by 2020 at the latest, according to UK boss Paul Williams.
The carmaker is in the testing phase of its first EV, an electric version of its Tivoli crossover SUV, Williams told Autocar.
“SsangYong has a strategy for hybrids and EVs, and the next generation of models will show this,” Williams said. “I have seen the plans for electric vehicles and we will see them on the market around 2019 or 2020.”
SsangYong is preparing to launch three new models over the next three years, and all three could have electrified versions.
The company is said to be ready to take on the Nissan Qashqai in the small SUV segment with the SIV-2 concept, which has made it to production level. That release has been pushed by a year to 2019, and it may come out as an electric version of the new SsangYong Korando small SUV.
SsanYong has been promising to roll out a hybrid or electric vehicle for several years now. The e-XIV plug-in hybrid concept – which is short for Electric Exciting user-Interface Vehicle – was designed to show off at the Paris Motor Show in 2012.
Owned by major Indian automaker Mahindra, SsanYong is looking for another partner company to roll out electrified vehicles with. While Mahindra is known for its tiny e20 electric city car, the Korean subsidiary is likely to find another automaker to work with.
“Nissan and Renault have invested a lot, for example, but had to wait a long time to see a return,” he said. “SsangYong could tie up with another brand, like BMW.”
SsangYong has been in the Korean auto market for years and is considered one of the national car companies; but it is far behind Hyundai and Kia, and foreign automakers like GM, that have a strong share of the market.
SsangYoung won’t be able to do it alone.
“When you’re small, you can’t afford to take those risks [associated with investment in EV tech].”
The company is focusing more on battery electric vehicles for the long term, though hybrid systems will also be part of its future, he said.