Hyundai: Our Dedicated EV Is Coming Soon, We Promise

Hyundai and its sister company, Kia, are flooding the zone with electric vehicles. In the recent past, it’s introduced the Ioniq EV and the popular Kona Electric, while Kia has rolled out the Soul EV and Niro EV. What all four of those vehicles have in common, besides their basic battery and motor components, is that they’re all spun off of non-electric vehicle platforms. There are hybrid and plug-in hybrid Ioniqs, for example, and the Kona is sold in much greater volumes in gas-powered form. Ditto the Kias. Hyundai has announced that it’s looking to go further in on EVs with a standalone electric model that won’t have a non-electric variant.

Hyundai Kona Electric, plugged in at a charger.

The automaker said as much in its New Year’s address, committing to a new electric vehicle—it isn’t noted whether it is a car or SUV—by 2021. While it isn’t explicitly stated in the address, the new EV is likely to use components from the aforementioned Hyundai and Kia products. The vehicle also is likely to be spun off of the Ioniq and Niro platform, not an all-new, EV-specific architecture. How do we know? Hyundai helped us out by promising its first all-electric vehicle architecture—by 2024, after the new standalone EV whirs onto the scene in 2021.

There are obvious benefits to building electric cars on dedicated platforms, from weight optimization to structural integration of the large, heavy batteries that today’s long-range electric vehicles demand. Tesla is an obvious example of standalone electric platform development (granted, that company doesn’t even build gas-powered vehicles), and the new Porsche Taycan is another, having no gas-powered equivalent or mechanical basis in the rest of Porsche’s lineup. Hyundai’s EV-only model is likely to land somewhere closer on the exotic scale to Chevrolet’s Bolt.

Converting a fossil-fuel-powered car to one powered by batteries brings with it engineering, cost, and packaging compromises. Hyundai has somewhat averted those with the Ioniq range, which was designed from the ground up to support gas-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric powertrains—but there is much to be gained by taking the electric model’s motor and battery setup and stuffing them into a dedicated EV. In the meantime, Hyundai should still realize some benefits to a standalone electric model, even one based on the Ioniq—with no gas engine to account for, the automaker can further chop up that platform to optimize it for electric power.

And that standalone EV is only the tip of the electric-berg for Hyundai. The company announced it will offer 23 battery electric vehicles by 2025, although that figure might include versions of the same car (Hyundai claims it sells nine battery electric vehicles now—we count only the Ioniq EV and Kona Electric, however . . . ). The future electric-only architecture surely will accelerate that build-out when it comes online in 2024.






























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