Posting in Energy
Expressing doubts over the viability of a large-scale EV market, Hyundai says it will focus on hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell cars and leave EV production to its affiliate, Kia Motors.
It seems that by now, most automakers have recognized the potential for electric vehicles in the auto market and are investing resources to that end. But a few companies, including Ferrari, have refused to jump on the EV bandwagon. Hyundai Motor is now adding its name to that list.
The South Korean automaker has decided to focus its resources on plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, leaving electric vehicle development to its affiliate, Kia Motors.
Yang Woong-chul, vice-chairman of research and development for Hyundai and Kia, has voiced doubts about the viability of electric vehicles on a mass scale. He said that EVs are unlikely to substitute cars with internal combustion engines because of limitations on battery capabilities and the necessary infrastructure, according to reports.
While it has not been as active as other automakers, Hyundai has not ignored the EV market entirely. Its electric model, the BlueOn, was released for fleet use in South Korea, but may be rolled out under the Kia brand later in the year. Kia is expected to produce the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group's first high-speed electric cars, which we may see on the market by the end of the year.
For its part, Hyundai has already started developing hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Earlier this year, the automaker tested two ix35 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in Denmark. The company also began selling a hybrid version of its Sonata model in the U.S. earlier in the year.
"Hyundai intends to focus on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids, as this seems to be the direction the car market is heading in, especially after 2030," said Lee Hang-koo of the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.
But he warned that Hyundai's bet could backfire, if EV battery technology improves significantly and if prices drop.
Sep 20, 2011