Hyundai is said to be developing two electric cars for Europe that will start at around €20,000. Many people in Europe are quite content to drive vehicles that Americans would never consider owning. It’s a cultural thing. America has always been in love with big heavy road locomotives, while Europeans have always preferred more compact, efficient machines.
Today, Hyundai sells a subcompact model known as the i10, a 3.67-meter-long car that is an A segment car in Europe. That part of the market is fiercely competitive and truthfully, profit margins are razor thin. It’s more about market share bragging rights than fattening the corporate bottom line with these diminutive cars. But the demand is strong on the Continent with its myriad congested cities whose streets were designed more for Roman chariots than automobiles.
But cars powered by internal combustion engines will soon be banned in many European countries, so Hyundai needs to be working on the battery-electric cars that will take the place of the i10. Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Hyundai’s marketing boss for Europe, told Automotive News recently that his company is planning a battery-electric replacement for the i10 and that it will start at less than €20,000.
Then along comes Autocar with the news that Hyundai is also planning a chunkier version that is more SUV-like to compete with the upcoming Volkswagen ID.1 that is also rumored to start at around €20,000. Autocar says the hatch will go into production in late 2023 with the cute ute following about a year later.
Power By BorgWarner
Almost nothing is known about these cars — not their names, standard equipment, or place of manufacture. What we do know is that both will be powered by an integrated drive module supplied by BorgWarner. Its iDM146 is comprised of an interior permanent magnet electric motor with a 146 mm stator and high voltage hairpin technology for high power density and efficiency. It also includes a Viper power module integrated with a quiet and efficient reduction gear set. Designed for 400V systems, the unit typically produces a peak power output of 135kW, although its modular design allows power and torque output to be scaled specifically to customer requirements.
“Our partnership with the Hyundai Motor Company spans two decades, and we’re delighted to continue our relationship by supplying our latest technology for the company’s newest electrification project,” said Stefan Demmerle, general manager of BorgWarner PowerDrive Systems. “Our iDM proved an ideal fit for the customers’ electric propulsion system during our first EV collaboration, and we look forward to contributing industry-leading electrification solutions to assist the company in meeting its future sustainability goals.”
Hoffman says city cars are “difficult to sell profitably because of their low prices and the technology required to electrify smaller vehicles.” No doubt that is true, but customers won’t care if the company has to sell at cost or even less. The world needs less expensive but highly efficient electric cars. Let the EV transition begin!
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