Electric vehicles are the new ‘focal point’ for Hyundai

South Korean motor company Hyundai has unveiled future blueprints to accelerate the transition to electric and hybrid vehicles, aiming to circulate 26 new-fuel cars and SUVs into its production by 2020.

Exhibiting at the Busan Motor Show, Hyundai revealed that its 26 model framework would introduce six new electric vehicle (EV) models to the public by 2020. A further two vehicles will also be fitted with hydrogen fuels cells, while the company is also aiming to introduce a 220-mile EV during that time. The remaining vehicles will consist of hybrid and plug-in models.

“In crafting and shaping a new brand for the future, alternative propulsion systems will be the focal point,” Hyundai’s head of luxury brand Genesis Manfred Fitzgerald said. “Luxury in the future won’t go without alternative propulsion systems. It is very obvious EV is definitely on the map, that’s where the future lies.”

The company will kick-start this movement by introducing the Ioniq hybrid vehicle, which goes on sale in the US later this year. Hyundai also hopes to introduce a luxury EV range under its Genesis brand.

Hyundai will ramp up production of the Ioniq model, extending to a plug-in version that will circulate in 2017. A hatchback version of the Ioniq will also be available and will be the first vehicle of its kind to offer all three powertrain choices.

Hyundai has already been making strides in the Hydrogen market, after introducing the Tuscan fuel cell EV back in 2013. The company has made headlines with its ix35 fuel cell electric vehicle, which set a new world record for the longest continuous journey in a hydrogen vehicle, after spending six days travelling more than 6,000 miles during a 50-lap tour of the M25.

Transport EV-olved

With Hyundai citing a lack of public trust in diesel vehicles – largely caused by dieselgate, but an issue that also extends Hyundai among others – as a reason to shift towards the EV market, new analysis has revealed the rising popularity of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

Figures released in the Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 report revealed that the number of EVs on the roads passed the one million threshold in 2015. The report noted that worldwide EV sales hit 477,000 in 2015, taking total sales to 1.15m.

According to the report, this represents a 70% increase compared to 2014 levels. The US, China, Netherlands and Norway – which wants to introduce a “complete” ban on all petrol cars by 2025 – were the big movers in the EV market, accounting for around 70% of all EVs sold worldwide.

Potentially worth £15bn if the UK moves to incentivise the market, EVs could represent more than a third of all new car sales by 2040, according to predictions from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie