Last year, Hyundai introduced the Ioniq family of vehicles, offering conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric versions. They might not be Toyota Prius and Tesla Model 3 killers, but they’re all generally competitive in their segments. Still, even with multiple environmentally friendly options in the lineup, Hyundai isn’t well known as a “green” manufacturer. Over the next several years, however, it hopes to change that.
Bloomberg reports that over the next eight years, Hyundai Motor Group plans to introduce as many as 38 environmentally friendly vehicles. The cars will be spread between Hyundai and sister company Kia, with seven new models arriving in the next five years. Many of them will reportedly be all-electric.
“Hyundai should have become a first mover of EVs, but it is still staying as a fast follower,” Kim Phil-soo, a professor of automotive engineering at Daelim University near Seoul, told Bloomberg. “Hyundai is late by about three years.”
Hyundai’s efforts to build environmentally friendly vehicles have previously been focused on hydrogen fuel cells. But increased consumer interest in EVs has forced the South Korean automaker to put hydrogen on the back burner while it works to bring electrified models to market first. Still, Hyundai hasn’t given up on hydrogen fuel cells. It says it simply needs to rely on EVs until fuel infrastructure and economies of scale make hydrogen power profitable.
“There are 1,200 battery-powered carmakers in the world, while only three automakers have the technology to produce fuel-cell cars,” Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang recently told reporters. “We see that the hydrogen car is an ultimate direction but we are not saying we will put everything on it. We will push for both of EV and FCV for now.”
Hyundai plans to soon offer an electric version of its Kona CUV, but it will also introduce a hydrogen fuel-cell SUV in certain markets.