Hyundai to launch a battery-powered EV in 2016

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 12, 2014

Hyundai Motor Co. will roll out a battery-powered electric vehicle in 2016. The carmaker’s affiliate, Kia, recently disclosed that it will commence producing a battery-powered version of its Soul compact in South Korea in April. The Soul EV will be Hyundai-Kia's first battery-powered EV export, and will be shipped to markets like the United States and Europe.

According to Cho Yong-won, vice president of Kia's Domestic Marketing Group, they are targeting to sell 5,000 Soul EVs globally. The Soul EV has starting price of KRW42 million ($39,400), but that would be slashed in half once government incentives come in. The EV has a range of 92 miles per 24- to 33-minute fast charge or 4 hours on slow charge.

Hyundai has been focusing on fuel cell vehicles, which boasts of longer driving range and shorter refill times. Hyundai, however, is expanding its product offering with investments in battery-powered cars. "There is no clear direction about which eco-friendly cars will win. We are dividing the roles of Hyundai and Kia, with Hyundai launching fuel cell cars and Kia focusing on electric cars," remarked Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang, who heads the eco-friendly car divisions of both South Korean carmakers.

He said that in the future Kia will launch a fuel-cell car while Hyundai is getting ready to introduce a battery-powered electric car in 2016. More zero-emission vehicles are expected to ply the roads as governments craft environment-friendly initiatives.

For instance, the state California of is requiring carmakers to build a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles as part of their overall fleet or to buy credits from automakers that have produced more. Kia has favored battery-powered cars since they be charged at home or at charging stations. Fuel cell cars, on the other hand, could only be refilled only at hydrogen filling stations. [source: Reuters]

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