Is the Hyundai Motor Company no longer bullish on the future prospects of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles? It certainly appears so, based on the recent announcement that the company made revealing the soon-to-be release of its first purely electric production vehicle.
The interesting, and fairly surprising, news has arrived along with the unveiling of a new battery supply deal (for the new model) made with the noted lithium-ion battery manufacturer LG Chem.
This new EV — said to be a mid-size sedan — will reportedly be released sometime in 2016.
That’s quite a turn around for a company that had until now claimed that it wouldn’t pursue the EV market (leaving that to its sister brand Kia), and was only interested in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, isn’t it?
I can’t say that I blame them, though. The likelihood of hydrogen vehicles entering widespread consumer use has never seemed that likely to me (I’m open to being proved wrong on this count), so a pulling back from that initiative and an embrace of the growing EV market certainly seems to make good business sense. And, for that matter, perhaps they know something that we don’t?
Anyways, here’s part of the announcement in Hyundai’s words:
“Hyundai’s first pure EV will be a mid-sized sedan. Equipped with improved batteries, enhanced system management and lighter materials, the upcoming model will weigh about 30% less than existing hybrid EVs.”
Reportedly, and very interestingly, the man that will be in charge of the company’s EV program is the former vice president of BMW, Albert Biermann.
Hmm, it really is a shallow gene pool up in the higher reaches of the auto industry, isn’t it?
According to Hyundai, this EV program is expected to be expanded relatively rapidly — with at least 12 PHEVs and 1 BEV by 2020.
Image Credit: Hyundai Motor Company
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