Hyundai, Kia Reveal Electric Car Roadmap. Is Level 3 Driving Part Of The Plan?

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Hyundai and Kia held press events this week to announce their revised electric car plans. Kia also said it will introduce AutoMode soon, a Level Three hands-free driving system that would be available on certain limited access highways.

17 Hyundai Electric Car Models By 2030

Hyundai electric car
Image courtesy of Hyundai

In its press release, Hyundai CEO Jaehoon Chang said the company plans to release 17 battery-electric car models by 2030 as part of its efforts to strengthen its lineup and to catch up to rival automakers. Of those, 11 will carry the Hyundai brand, while 6 will be part of the Genesis luxury car lineup. Chang said the company is investing $16.08 billion in its electric car endeavors, which include more manufacturing plants dedicated to producing EVs. The goal is to capture a 7% market share in the global EV market and to sell 1.87 million electric vehicle units per year by 2030.

Chang said three of the 11 new models will be sedans, six will be SUVs, one will be a light commercial vehicle, while the last one will be a new type of vehicle. [Wait…..what??]  The first to be released will most likely be the Ioniq 6, a sedan expected in showrooms later this year. The Ioniq 7 3-row SUV should arrive in 2024.

$16.08 billion is not pocket change, but analysts tell Reuters it is not “aggressive” when compared to the commitments made by some rival companies like Toyota, General Motors, and Volkswagen. The Ioniq 5 has garnered rave reviews from around the world. If the next EVs from Hyundai are as good, it should have little trouble meeting its sales goals.

Kia Promises 14 Electric Car Models

electric car
Kia EV9, image courtesy of Kia

Also this week, Kia held an Investor Day event, during which it promised to have 14 battery-electric car models in showrooms by 2027. It says in a press release that its target is 1.2 million EV sales a year by 2030. 7 of those new models will be on the road by 2027. It expects to sell 160,000 BEVs this year, 807,000 BEVs in 2026, and 1.2 million by 2030. To hit those targets, Kia will introduce at least two new electric vehicles per year. It has 2 battery-electric pickup trucks in the works, one of which will be a “strategic model for emerging markets.”

There’s a kicker in those plans, however. The company is planning on selling 4 million new cars a year by 2030. The updated strategy suggests only 1.2 million will be battery powered. Maybe this isn’t the unqualified good news EV fans were hoping for.

In the near term, Kia plans to launch its flagship electric vehicle — the EV9 SUV — by 2023, according to Engadget. The latest information from Kia is that the EV9 will be about 5 meters long, accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in five seconds, and travel 540 km (340 miles) on a single charge. Adding an extra 100 km of range with take just six minutes using a Level 3 fast charger.

The EV9 will also offer over-the-air updates and “feature on demand” subscription services. “In addition, it will be the first model to be equipped with Kia’s advanced AutoMode autonomous driving technology,” the company says. Automode will be “rapidly expanded” throughout its lineup after being introduced on the EV9.

And what is AutoMode? It’s “a range of autonomous driving technologies” that will include a “Highway Driving Pilot” feature that works by itself without driver intervention on certain highway sections. It will also be improved as the technology develops via wireless updates.

The Takeaway

If you think Hyundai and Kia are setting their electric car sights a trifle low, don’t despair. Both have raised their game considerably since this time last year. One gets the sense management is carefully calibrating the market and updating future plans to respond to trends in the real world. Both have compelling electric cars on sale today and there is every reason to believe their future offerings will be just as good or even better. Lots of drivers will own an electric car from Hyundai or Kia in the future as the EV revolution rolls forward.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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