Hyundai, Kia to expand green models

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 12 August 2015

HYUNDAI and sister company Kia are are spreading their bets with their model lineups — a clear sign that the crystal ball into the future of cars remains muddled.

Between the 2016 and 2018 model years, Hyundai and Kia will launch four hybrids, two plug-in hybrids and an electric car in the US, industry trade journal Automotive News says.

The two brands will have no fewer than nine advanced-technology vehicles by the 2018 model year.

The two companies will launch their first dedicated hybrids as 2017 models, with each sporting a unique, aerodynamic body style.

“They’re doing hybrids, they’re doing PHEVs, they’re doing pure battery electrics,” Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at automotive consultancy AutoPacific and a former product planner at Hyundai told AE.

“They’re basically throwing darts at the wall, preparing for the future by having expertise in all of these types of vehicles.”

On top of that, Hyundai is leasing a hydrogen-fueled version of its Tucson crossover and has examined bringing a diesel engine to the US, further preparing the Korean automaker to seize on any shift away from gasoline.

“We will take the lead in the future by raising the competitiveness of our environment-friendly cars,” Reuters quoted Hyundai Motor CEO Choong-ho Kim as saying last year.

The dedicated hybrids are expected to ride on a modified version of the compact-car platform that underpins the next-generation Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte and draw power from a direct-injected 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor.

Hyundai’s new hybrid platform was designed for all-electric variants. Hyundai, which doesn’t currently sell an EV, will add one for the 2017 model year. Kia, which currently offers an EV based on its Soul subcompact, isn’t expected to offer a second, AE said.