By on August 17, 2017

2017-hyundai-next-gen-fuel-cell-suv, Image: Hyundai

Hyundai isn’t about to let Tesla hog all the eco glory. The automaker has announced a near-term roadmap for green vehicle production, promising 31 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and fuel cell models by 2020, shared between the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands.

Having already joined the fray with its compact Ioniq, offered in hybrid, plug-in, and EV flavors, the company wants a larger presence in the fledgling (but growing) EV scene. To this end, it’s planning long-range, high-end EVs built on a dedicated platform, as well as a much-needed crossover that dispenses with gas stations altogether. The Kona, which arrives in the U.S. in gas-powered guise this winter, serves as a body donor.

Will a 242-mile electric crossover give Elon Musk reason to sweat?

Knowing green car buyers also have plenty of green in their pockets, the company’s next-generation hydrogen fuel cell SUV is growing to midsize proportions, eager to satisfy California’s need for a true soccermobile that emits only peace, love, and water.

The unnamed model, seen above in concept form, replaces the slow-selling ix35 (Tucson) fuel-cell vehicle and promises 360 miles of driving range and greater powerplant durability. We’ll learn more details and a model name at this January’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Of course, with less than two dozen hydrogen-filling stations in California (and not much more than that overseas), Hyundai can’t count on a lighter-than-air gas as the fuel for its big green push. Enter electricity, which forms the center of the company’s plan. Because cobbled-together EVs based on ICE models don’t generally provide much battery space, Hyundai is developing a scaleable, dedicated platform for its future long-range EVs.

The first new Hyundai electric, the Kona EV, bows in early 2018 in Korea. (It isn’t known when we’ll see it cross the Pacific.) Following this, an electric Genesis model launches in 2021, followed soon after by a model boasting 310 miles of range. Hyundai isn’t saying what brand the third EV falls under, nor what bodystyle to expect.

The automaker also claims part of its plan includes creating larger, four-wheel-drive, and rear-drive hybrids. That could come in handy for Genesis, which is aiming for two SUVs and a premium sports coupe to join its three sedans by 2021 (and who knows what else after).

[Image: Hyundai]

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21 Comments on “Hyundai Rolls Out Green Roadmap, Promises Three EVs by 2022 and an Electric Kona Next Year...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Will a 242-mile electric crossover give Elon Musk reason to sweat?”

    Perhaps. When you compete against ICE companies who can internally subsidize EVs, that’s a challenge.

    The real trick isn’t in high-end EVs, but in low-end EVs where the margins are smaller, the volumes are higher, and the subsidies matter more. On the last point (subsidies), Tesla is closer to the 200k endpoint than anybody, so EV upstarts like Hyundai will enjoy a subsidy advantage for years to come.

    Another comment: Is that 242-mile range the EU optimistic range, or the EPA range? TTAC has a tendency to report these ranges without question. I suspect the EPA range is closer to 180 miles. If that’s the case, it won’t pose as much of a threat to the Tesla Model Y.

    • 0 avatar

      Truthfully, there’s no particular reason to give Tesla the range benefit-of-the-doubt over other companies. Range is more dependent on batteries than anything else, and Tesla still source their batteries from Panasonic, and team with that company on battery research, as far as I know. Hyundai could easily pair with Samsung and/or LG to advance their battery research.

      Much though I like the idea of fuel cell-electric vehicles, they ultimately just don’t make sense, what with the continuing lack of infrastructure–including in Korea–and ultimately-lower efficiency. Hyundai will need to begin to work with the Korean government to speed up the proliferation of EV charging stations in the country, if it’s going to be in sync with the U.S., China, Japan, and Europe. Otherwise, the “uniqueness” of the Korean market will continue to divert resources from the useful efforts of what needs to be a global brand.

      I’m still convinced that part of the Hyundai’s short-sightedness with Genesis regarding hybrids and EV’s is the continued reliance on the Korean market for the vast majority of sales. Without diversification and a long-term outlook, Genesis will fail, and the whole thing will have been a costly mistake to Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      “If that’s the case, it won’t pose as much of a threat to the Tesla Model Y.”

      Hard to compete against a vehicle that is not yet designed. Heck there is not even a factory to build it in, or probably the money to do either so by the 2019 launch date.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Good point. I should have said “mythical” Model Y.

        The design is certainly under way, but Tesla has so much going on right now that I seriously doubt their 2019 date.

  • avatar

    This kind of stuff really annoys me. Few people actually want EVs; it’s the government mandates driving them, especially California’s requirement for so many EVs (15%?) coming up soon.

    I wonder how much of the drive for SUVs, and the reduced demand for sedans and coupes, is from the increased regulation of those cars with the carve-outs for light trucks? Could the demand for CUVs be primarily because they look like SUVs?

    Regardless, I wish the government would stop distorting markets like this (or like anything).

    • 0 avatar

      Demand for EVs varies a lot by location. There’s more of it than you think.

      I’m not in California, but Washington (which has no state-level EV subsidy). A couple of days ago, I was waiting in a line at a traffic light, driving our C-Max Energi. I was third in line. The rest of the cars in line: 1) another C-Max Energi, 2) Leaf, 4) Model S, 5) Volt. We’ve got cheap and carbon-clean hydroelectric power, and both EVs and PHEVs are in hot demand.

      When the lease is up on the C-Max Energi in 2019, I’m hoping lease prices on 150 mi+ full EVs will be low enough that I can lease one, whether a Bolt, a new Hyundai product, or the mythical next-gen Leaf.

      • 0 avatar

        Just checked on Autotrader for 100 miles radius of Seattle area and found 12 Leafs from 2012 to 2014 ranging in price from $6995 to $9995 and maximum of 40,000 miles. Dozens of 2015 Leafs for less than $14,000, and 2017 models start at $20,990 with less than 1,000 miles. There were also 22 BMW i3s from 2014-15 from $15,995 to $19,999 – most with less than 25,000 miles. There were also 2 Tesla model S from 2013-14 for less than $50,000 and as low as 20,000 miles. The Leaf sticker is $30,000+, the i3 is about $45-50,000-, and Model S between $73-85,000, so pretty terrible resale value on all but the Tesla. If this is the “strong” EV demand in Washington, imagine what the resale value must be in weak EV demand areas (e.g. Duluth MN in January).

        • 0 avatar

          Used and new EV demand don’t correlate because the segment is moving so fast. No one should buy an EV until battery tech stabilizes a bit. Lease them and let the manufacturer take the depreciation hit (which the federal subsidy just about covers).

          Used Teslas, though… they’re worth their weight in gold. If a Model S depreciated like any other luxury car I’d probably already own a 2013 P85.

        • 0 avatar

          If my neighbors wouldn’t mind me running an extension cord down from my third floor balcony, I’d take a flyer on a Leaf as a car for my kids. It’d make a terrific neighborhood runabout for a teenager.

          Might get kinda dicey when it rains, though…bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzztttt………

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Few people actually want EVs; it’s the government mandates driving them…”

      This is only true for ‘compliance’ cars – VW e-Golf, Fiat 500e, Kia Soul EV, and even the Hyundai Ioniq EV.

      Nissan and Tesla have sold the majority of EVs, and to people who actually want them. But there is no doubt subsidies have aided the sale of lower-priced EVs in particular.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Few people actually want EVs; it’s the government mandates driving them, especially California’s requirement for so many EVs (15%?) coming up soon.”

    I don’t know that this is true.

    • 0 avatar

      How many people would buy EVs if they weren’t subsidized by the government?

      Why does the government have to mandate their sale if they are so popular?

      By definition, mandates and subsidies show the products aren’t popular.

      • 0 avatar

        For now EVs are a bridge too far. The real benefit, to me, is pushing the battery tech. Once battery tech gives us 10-15kWh in the space and weight of Prius’ current 4.4 kWh Plug-In hybrids become a very attractive option. 25-40 miles of electric commuting power with no range anxiety.

        As a bonus, people get used to the electric driving benefits: high torque from 0 RPM, reduced brake and engine wear, greatly reduced idling without obnoxious stop-start systems, etc.

        I think this is where the mass market benefit is, we’re just waiting for the right batteries.

    • 0 avatar

      It is not. The main benefit is the HOV lane sticker in California.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That has a face only a mother could love (and mine didn’t; I asked her).

  • avatar

    The Genesis brand now has 3 crossovers in the pipe-line.

    Seems like the indication is that the first Genesis EV will be a sedan; should have been a crossover or at least a fastback.

    Wonder how they managed to get the EV version of the Kona with that kind of range considering that the platform is not a dedicated EV platform?

    As for this FCEV concept, the production version better have some sort of redo for that awful front fascia.

    • 0 avatar

      “Wonder how they managed to get the EV version of the Kona with that kind of range considering that the platform is not a dedicated EV platform?”

      Probably a combination of two things. Energy density for battery cells is steadily improving, so a 50kWh battery will take up less space than earlier batteries. Check out some of the articles on Tesla’s 2170 cells and Samsung SDI’s 2170s. Also, it was probably designed from the start to have an EV version, so there was probably some space set aside for the battery in the design.

      • 0 avatar

        My puzzlement wasn’t so much over battery-tech improving, but getting that kind of range so soon out of a non-dedicated EV platform.

        There have been conflicting reports about whether there will be a higher range Ioniq EV and/or how soon it will reach the market – as Hyundai had stated that one of the reasons for the somewhat limited initial range was due to platform having been developed for hybrid and PHEV duty in addition to EV.

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