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Hyundai–Kia group plans blitz attack into
Added by admin 11/04/16
By Kyle Field on 11 April 2016
was a late bloomer in the fuel efficiency game, only bringing its
Sonata Hybrid to market in 2010, the same year as the third
generation of the incumbent Toyota Prius arrived on the scene.
Since then, the two paths have diverged, with Toyota running off
towards hydrogen fuel cell bliss while Hyundai continues to
explore fuel efficiency.
Hyundai was not content with just a hybrid drivetrain. Plowing
forward towards the future, it developed a new platform with
hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full battery-electric versions of the
newly minted Hyundai Ioniq, which it put into the spotlight for
the first time at the New York International Auto Show.
And Hyundai has no plans to let up this crazy, accelerated
rampage of R&D. Auto News recently broke the story of the new
Hyundai and sister company Kia masterplan to plow straight on
towards the future with plans to introduce 26 hybrids, plug-in
hybrids, and fully electric vehicles by 2020.
Hyundai and Kia are going all in on this bet to not only lead the
charge towards the next generation of automobiles but,
critically, in doing so, they plan to head up the race towards
reduced emissions, driving reductions in advance of forecasted
policy changes. If Hyundai and Kia ever had the opportunity to
throw down at a game of Texas hold ’em, this would be the hand
where they threw down and went all in because that’s exactly
what’s going down.
The blitz approach is comprised of 12 hybrids, 6 plug-in hybrids,
2 battery-electric vehicles, and 2 fuel cell electric vehicles
split between the two megabrands. With Hyundai already proudly
rocking the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plugin Hybrids, with rumors
of a new electric brand dubbed “AE” being spun off, it’s anyone’s
guess where the new models will surface, but it stands to reason
that Ioniq is included in the count, having just arrived on the
Kia, on the other hand, has been sporting the Soul EV with its 93
miles of all-electric range (AER) for a few months now and has
garnered glowing reviews across the board. Kia is also getting in
on the plug-in hybrid game, with two completely new versions this
year — with the Telluride PHEV and the Optima PHEVs having had
their respective covers blown in the early months of the year.
The man in charge of the plan to green up the pair is Lee Ki-Sang,
Senior Vice President of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Eco Techology
Center. He shared that sales of electrified cars account for an
anemic 1% of global sales across the two brands. While current
sales are terrible, the flip side of that same coin is that there
is really only one direction for electrified sales to go — up.
In a curious overlap, the strategy for driving volume of
electrified vehicle sales (and, more importantly, making them
profitable by 2020) has borrowed the Ioniq moniker and is called
“Project Ioniq,” as announced at the Geneva Motor Show. The
borrowed name also speaks to the intention to share and reapply
as much common technology between the two brands and between
platforms within the brands as possible. Standardizing the number
of new parts that have to be developed to simplify the overall
supply chain and manufacturing process is a key philosophy within
The journey promises to be fraught with challenges as Hyundai and
Kia charge into unfamiliar electrified territory, but as with any
move into a new business segment, the risk parallels an equal or
greater opportunity if they do it right. Getting into the market
first isn’t just a GM idea, and now Hyundai & Kia want pieces of
the pie … but can they deliver?
Time will tell, but if history is any indicator, Hyundai had to
move quickly to successfully bring the handful of hybrids and
plug-in hybrids to market that are selling like hotcakes today,
and that seems to bode well for the future. I know I’ll be
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Story and image (Hyundai Ioniq) courtesy: