Hyundai and Kia Electric Car Plans

Hyundai and Kia Electric Car Plans

While the news mostly follows Tesla, Ford, Chevy, and Volkswagen’s electric car development, automakers Hyundai and Kia electric car plans are in the works. Hyundai Motor Group, which consists of Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, has released a few electric vehicles (EVs) of their own recently. However, the South Korean automaker group is not done yet. 

In December 2019, Hyundai announced a global $52 billion investment plan from 2020-2025 where 25% of the funds are focused on electric vehicles per Reuters. In addition, the automaker pledged a goal to produce over 500,000 EVs globally by 2025. Let’s dive into each brand’s specific plans. 

Hyundai Electric Car Plans:

Since 2016, Hyundai has released four EVs in the U.S.: Sonata PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), Ioniq PHEV, Ioniq BEV (battery electric vehicle or “all-electric”), and Kona EV. Specifically, the Ioniq and Kona EV are both known for their impressive efficiencies of 133 and 120 MPGe, respectively, per FuelEconomy

Hyundai and Kia Electric Car Plans: Hyundai Kona EV
Hyundai Kona EV
Image credit: Hyundai

While Hyundai has one of the most plug-in vehicles available for sale, their sale numbers were significantly on the lower end compared to other carmakers. Per InsideEVs, Hyundai sold just over 4,500 electric cars in 2019. For comparison, Tesla sold nearly 160,000 Model 3s in the same period. Like other automakers (besides Tesla), insufficient battery supply is to blame.

With a debut in 2020, Hyundai plans to release the Santa Fe and Tuscon in a PHEV variant, per InsideEVs. At the moment, there are only two PHEV compact crossover vehicles available for sale in the U.S.: the Mitsubishi Outlander and Volvo XC60. By the end of next year, there could be up to 11. You can see the whole list by viewing the Available and Future Electric Car Table here

Then, in 2021, Hyundai plans to unveil a dedicated, all-electric platform known as the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), per Electrive. This new platform, similar to Volkswagen’s MEB platform, will enable Hyundai to produce electric cars without having to squeeze in the electric motor and batteries into a platform originally designed for an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle. Furthermore, Hyundai teamed up EV startup, Canoo, to develop the platform, per Kia.

With a dedicated electric platform, the automaker is able to efficiently design the EV rather than squeezing in the electric motor and battery into an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle design. This is greatly important as the cost of batteries plays a huge role in the cost of the vehicle. 

Moreover, per InsideEVs, the automaker plans to release 6 PHEVs and 23 BEVs by 2025, though it is unclear how many will reach American shores. 

Kia Electric Car Plans:

Beginning in 2017, Kia has produced four EVs: Optima PHEV, Soul EV (a BEV), Niro PHEV, and Niro EV (a BEV). Similar to Hyundai’s battery shortage causing limited production, Kia also has only been able to sell an insignificant amount of EVs. 

Despite this, the Niro EV has won Popular Mechanics Car of the Year award, per CleanTechnica. The Niro EV, a subcompact crossover, competes against the fellow 200+ mile range, affordable EVs such as Hyundai Kona EV, Chevy Bolt, and Nissan Leaf. 

Hyundai and Kia Electric Car Plans: Kia Niro EV
Kia Niro EV
Image credit: Kia

Later in 2020, Kia plans to release a refreshed Soul EV. While the former Soul EV has only 111 miles of range, the all-new 2021 model will have an impressive 243 mile range. Even better, pricing will be roughly the same. The new Soul EV was originally expected to be released near the same time as the Niro EV (2019), however, due to limited battery supply, the launch was delayed. 

In addition, Kia also plans to release a PHEV Sorento–a compact crossover. Like the Santa Fe and Tuscon PHEVs, this will join the quickly competitive compact crossover PHEV space. Most notably, Toyota and Ford plan to release a PHEV RAV4 and Escape, respectively, in 2020 as well. 

Looking into the near future, Kia will be included in Hyundai Motor Group’s massive EV plan. Using the E-GMP platform, Kia will produce new EVs in addition to what they already have available. Details are scarce at the moment, however, in 2019 Kia previewed the Imagine EV Concept at the Geneva Motor Show. 

The Imagine EV Concept is a hatchback/crossover that aims to provide high performance and long-range at an affordable price. If it is anything like the previous Kia and Hyundai electric cars, it will be very efficient.

Hyundai and Kia Electric Car Plans: Kia Imagine EV Concept
Kia Imagine EV Concept
Image credit: Kia

Genesis Electric Car Plans:

Hyundai Motor Group’s new luxury sub-brand, Genesis, will also join the EV party. While Genesis has not released any EVs to date, they have previewed a few concepts. Specifically, Genesis has announced the Mint EV Concept, a two-door coupe, per GreenCarReport

Additionally, per Electrek, Genesis announced an all-electric variant of the upcoming GV80 SUV due in 2021. Speculation has the E-GMP platform used for the new SUV. The GV80 EV will most likely compete against other luxury EVs such as the Tesla Model X and Rivian R1S. 

Hyundai and Kia Electric Car Plans: Genesis GV80
Genesis GV80 Concept
Image credit: Genesis

Closing Thoughts:

Hyundai and Kia electric car plans are definitely intriguing. Like GM and Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia aim to quickly release a slurry of EVs to the market. As we have seen with recent sales reports, battery supply is critical. 

While the current Hyundai and Kia electric cars are great vehicles, they cannot sell more than a few hundred a month. Again, this is due to limited batteries. This problem may affect GM and Volkswagen, too, unless they can secure large battery supply contracts. 

Alternatively, automakers can make their own, like Tesla. However, that endeavor requires another massive investment that the automaker may not want to fully dive into. 

If Hyundai and Kia can solve this issue, I believe they can continue to offer great value electric cars. While the attention is on Tesla, there has yet to be an automaker making a truly affordable, mass-produced electric car. The race is on between GM, VW, and Hyundai/Kia. 

So what do you think of Hyundai and Kia electric car plans? Are they ambitious enough or do they need to solve their battery supply problem first? Let me know in the comments.

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