Hyundai Green Chief Says 'Meh' to Hybrids and Electrics, Dives in Anyway
“It’s a headache,” said the Hyundai vice president in charge of eco-friendly vehicles of his company’s efforts to chase Toyota and others in building green vehicles, Automotive News has reported.
Speaking at a South Korean electric car expo, Lee Ki-Sang, senior VP of Hyundai’s Eco Technology Center, went on to state that 26 hybrid, plug-in, full-electric, and fuel cell models will arrive by 2020, but added that Hyundai and Kia’s relatively small home market of Korea will make these moves risky and “difficult.”
One would think that the executive charged with building and selling an innovative line of vehicles would discuss the development of said vehicles with more than a simple yawn.
Considering that current historically-low fuel prices are leading to higher sales of trucks, especially in the U.S. market, Lee is likely right to be concerned about his company’s investment in green technologies.
Existing electrified vehicles account for about one percent of the company’s sales, and the take-up rate for EVs and plug-ins isn’t close to what Hyundai and other automakers had hoped. Lee even called the demand for EVs “miserable.”
Despite this, Hyundai and Kia aim to become the world’s second largest eco-car manufacturer by the end of the decade, meaning quick development of new technologies is in order.
[Image: Hyundai Motor America]
"Considering that current historically-low fuel prices are leading to higher sales of trucks, especially in the U.S. market" Not true. Truck sales as a fraction of the total US market have not changed: 2010: 14.5% 2011: 14.2% 2012: 13.4% 2013: 13.9% 2014: 14.0% 2015: 14.1%
Hyundai simply doesn't like vehicles with plugs, they follow the temple of GDI and Hydrogen Fuel Cells. Kia likes lithium and they vehicles with plugs, so there were Kia Forte LPI hybids, Kia Ray EVs, Kia Soul EVs, Chademo etc. Its kinda like the Toyota/Nissan divergence of opinion, EV or Hydrogen, except Hyundai owns 33.8% of Kia (down from about 70%) Expect lots of Hyundai money spent on subconsciously sabotaged EVs, whereas Kia actually sells their EVs
When Tesla sells 500,000 Model 3's THAT will be a headache. Hyundai has been the hottest rising star around for a generation, devastating Saturn and going from a Pony joke to slashing and cutting their way to the top with awesome devastation. Lee-Ki-Sang better be sent to research the market in North Korea because he sounds tired.
Automakers are in business to make money for shareholders by profitably selling vehicles that customers want to buy. In contrast, the regular Prius is probably the only hybrid/electric car on the market that might currently be making a profit - including paying back development costs. Most hybrids/electrics are big money losers that manufacturers/governments need to pay customers to take off their hands - do you think Ford is happy to offer almost free Focus EVs to Californians? The fact is most car buyers don't think hybrids/electrics offer good value, especially when oil prices are low. The interesting thing is that the number 1 trade-in for almost all electric cars is a Prius - which means all the subsidies and lost profits are going to people that already have a green car so that they can have a very slightly greener one.