Hyundai-Kia Discusses “Electrification” Catch-Up Plan

APR 5 2016 BY MARK KANE 40

Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV

Lee Ki-Sang, in charge of Hyundai Motor Group’s eco-car powertrain division, shared his thoughts about electrification with Automotive News.

The South Korean carmaker, that consist two brands – Hyundai and Kia, plans to leapfrog to the front of the industry’s pack and compete with Toyota.

By 2020, 26 electrified cars – at least 12 hybrids, 6 plug-in hybrids, 2 pure electrics and 2 hydrogen fuel cell models are to be launched.

“It’s a risky but necessary gambit. After years of trailing in electrification, Hyundai and Kia see no way of meeting future emissions rules without harnessing the power of electrons.

The rollout covers several nameplates already on sale or heading to lots soon. From Hyundai, they include the Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in, Ioniq Hybrid, Ioniq Plug-in, Ioniq Electric, Grandeur Hybrid and a fuel cell version of the Tucson. The Grandeur is sold in the U.S. as the Azera, but slow sales there make it unclear whether the next-generation Grandeur will come to U.S. showrooms.

At Kia, the list includes the Optima Hybrid, Optima Plug-in, Soul EV, Cadenza Hybrid and the upcoming Niro hybrid compact crossover.”

Hyundai Sonata Plug-in

Hyundai Sonata Plug-in

Hyundai-Kia is aiming to become No. 2 volume player second only to Toyota to which the distance is too far to catch (with some ~1.2 million hybrids and plug-in hybrids sold in 2015).

According to the article Hyundai could be at 300,000 annually by 2020. Only part of those will be plug-ins.

“Last year, Hyundai sold 42,900 hybrids and plug-ins worldwide. It delivered 300 fuel cell vehicles but didn’t offer an EV. Kia moved just 18,735 hybrids. It doesn’t have a plug-in or fuel cell. Its Soul EV tallied sales of 8,450.”

An interesting point of discussion is the universalization of drivetrain components to cover all models with only minor changes:

“For example, all our electric motors have the same diameter,” Lee said. “The power output is different, but we can just adjust the width of the core winding. Or for the motor controller, we standardized to use the same printed circuit boards.”

While each nameplate generates modest volume of up to 20,000 units, volume expands beyond 100,000 on a component basis, he added

“Except for Toyota, () can achieve some competitiveness against other companies,” Lee said.”

Asked about profits, Lee Ki-Sang answered that they would like to make profits on eco-friendly vehicles by 2020.

source: Automotive News

Categories: Hyundai, Kia

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

40 Comments on "Hyundai-Kia Discusses “Electrification” Catch-Up Plan"

newest oldest most voted

Hybrids are NOT green cars. It is a testament to how lax the regulations are that they can get away with this nonsense. We know how to make cars more than twice as efficient. Why the hell don’t we then?!?

2 electric cars. So that’d be the Soul and the Ioniq??? Is this their plan to get in front?

PATHETIC Huyundai. Really.

Agreed. LOVE my soul EV (after a brief range scare during the cold season) but wish more people could get it.

“Hybrids are NOT green cars. It is a testament to how lax the regulations are that they can get away with this nonsense. We know how to make cars more than twice as efficient. Why the hell don’t we then?!?”

Obviously because pure EVs still have too many limitations (charging if you can’t charge at home, recharge times, driving in areas that don’t have a good charging infrastructure yet). Let’s be realistic: For a large part of the population EVs are simply not an alternative (yet), at least not as the only car.

deborah crazy train flower power


deborah crazy train flower power

I am with you Terawatt !!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, this plan itself shows how behind they are. They are not leapfrogging anything, there are merely catching up to the end of the line.

I agree, only 2 BEVs in 4 years?!? Ridiculous.

Yes, it should be all electrics and only two plug-in hybrids remaining.

I like your thinking.

“Someone out there” said:

“They… are merely catching up to the end of the line.”


I believe that automotive regulations should be updated to mandate that all new vehicles built are a PHEV or BEV.

There is no excuse for building pure ICE and HEVs as hybrid technology is mature enough to support all applications.

This will drive the charging infrastructure for street parking/apartment and condo dwellers when every vehicle produced has a plug.

There are excuses:
– Batteries: the world needs a lot more production, and we aren’t sure where prices are going yet.
– Duty cycles: PHEV is not really that great if daily miles are high. It adds weight and charging cost. PHEV works best when the capacity covers daily driving.
– Charging access: Until PEVs really shift attitudes to the point that having access to charging becomes straightforward, HEV is the best some people will get. BEV will only work at scale when you expect every private vehicle’s parking spot to have a charger.

I agree with you absolutely, Terawatt. I suggest that ICE vehicle manufacturers will include an ICE component in as many of their vehicles as possible for as long as they can get away with it.

They are perpetuating the myth that pure electric has limitations. They’re also keeping customers used to the noise, smell, roughness and inconvenience of ICE. If they didn’t, they’d have no chance of selling their regular cars while they work on a new business model – one which doesn’t rely on servicing for its profit.

They will be well behind the times with only 2 EVs and so stupid building any FCV’s, they could be in trouble.
The only other than a BEV should be a BEV with a small REx as by then building an EV will be cheaper than building a gas car.
And they need 2 yrs just to get enough new battery production ordered.
After 2020 I doubt many businesses, Govs or fleets will be buying anything but EV’s as on a cost basis they work from, it is a no brainer as 200 mile EVs costs drops.

Oh, thanks, Terawatt!

Now I get to post my favorite pictograph depicting the dramatic comparison between Electric Fueled Vehicles; EV’s EREV’s and PHEV’s VS current Hybrid’s.

Sort of like comparing a smart phone to a brick phone!

(Yup, my phones and my Chevy Volt EREV)

My very best-

Thomas J. Thias



But they sold 30 times more EV than FCEV.
And probably with lesser losse.
Since it’s a risky game, why would they pursue to feed the laggard?

How strange.

Any company that cracks HFC technology will make a _lot_ of money. Not in HFCV, but in the HFCs themselves.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Ionic PHEV competes with the Prius Prime. I have a suspicion the Prius will be a better car.

We could say that the ionic will have less bad ev range. 😉

But, your eyes, you’ll have to look at the Prime every day, for years.

I’d wager the IONIQ does better.

12 non-plugin hybrids in 2020? Oh come on, get with the program! Releasing a car in 2020 that still requires gas just shows that you are behind the times. While a hybrid is slightly better than a non-hybrid, it’s still obsolete. It’s like releasing a brand new DVD player when everyone else are doing Blu-ray, and in fact Blu-ray is getting obsolete too now with Internet streaming services. It’s only a matter of time until people discover that they don’t need gas at all anymore.

Saying it is a risky gambit is like saying a flame is hot. A flame is intrinsically hot and a gambit is intrinsically risky, that is why it is called a gambit. Hyundai, get someone to write this drivel who at least understands how to use words.

Well at least the realize they are behind the curve in regard to the electrification revolution.

A gambit is merely a strategic series of opening moves, and may be risky or conservative.

Apparently the writer of this so-called “drivel” has better command of the language than you thought.

Why do I even bother?
Cambridge English Dictionary
a ​clever ​action in a ​game or other ​situation that is ​intended to ​achieve an ​advantage and usually ​involves taking a ​risk:

Enjoy your bliss.


Enjoy your selective blindness.

Michael said:

“A gambit… may be risky or conservative.”

The usage of the word “gambit”, in the context used in the article above, is entirely correct. “Gambit” does have more than one meaning, but none match what you assert here.

Next time you might want to check your dictionary before “correcting” someone about English usage.

Did you reply to the wrong person?

My point was that the original writer was correct in their use of risky and gambit together, and that such use, although trite, is not redundant.

ffbj’s own response, apparently sourced directly from his dictionary of choice, proved my point and refuted his.

Without knowing a single specification, it is impossible to know if they are going to leapfrog anybody.

It sounds like they are giving themselves plenty of time, so they may be able to do something good by then.

After seeing the demand for the Model 3 I am sure we will be reading a lot of “Electrification Catch-Up Plans”

Not meaning to state the bleedingly obvious or anything but surely the bigger risk is not offering a strong line up of pluggin vehicles by 2020? Some risks that I feel are larger and that would have a major detrimental affect a car maker that is overly reliant ICE vehicles: 1 – London, Birmingham and Paris get tired of paying fines to the EU and ban all non-pluggin vehicles in the city center – not all that unlikely in some form by 2020. 2 – The EU go through with their vehicle emissions standard as planned and approved without the automotive lobby groups being able to water it down. 3 – Major Chinese and Indian cities ban, control or heavily tax non-plugin vehicles. 4 – The German auto-makers develop a whole range of PHEV’s and then do what they do best. Convince the whole world that anything that isn’t German is technologically inferior in particular if it is made by an Asian manufacturer. 5 – OPEC push the price of oil to well over $100 a barrel every few months just long enough to make a whole heap of money but not long enough for high cost producers like Canada… Read more »

add stuttgart to point 1

For a company like Hyundai and Kia electrification is their best move. They have only recently overcame the notion of not being reliable. Investing into electric cars and not hybrids could take them away as long as they can build reliable electrics as there would be no one competing with them except for tesla. Honda on the other hand has a real plan. Their accord only uses gas for energy generation and propulsion is all electric. They will be electric as soon as they can have a good battery to go with the tech.

The Accord is NOT a pure series hybrid as you claim, unless it is never driven over 40mph. Above 40mph, a clutch engages and connects the engine to the wheels through a one gear ratio transmission and the car operates in parallel hybrid mode.

ugly smh

This whole electric car future is being driven by Tesla. The rest are going to be playing catch up as non are leading anymore other than Elon. I own an electric car ( eGolf ) and absolutely love the damn thing. Here’s a hint for car makers to follow if they really want to lead the market: 1) people want performance . 2) the whole hippie Prius /Leaf looks thing is never going to cut it. 3) Plug in 100 mile range with a back up motor like the Volt. GM almost has it, just get the styling away from the damn rental car look and Honda Fit look alike crap. Make the car handle and 0-60 time BETTER than ice cars and give us BETTER than ice cars. Lead, do not follow. One other thing that GM does, stop making your sedans like the Camaros where you feel like you’re laying down deep in the vehicles seats and have poor visibility. I doubt any of these manufacturers will get it ,especially Toyota. I’ve bought ton of them in the past and will never buy one again because of their half hearted, disingenuous attitude towards electrics. And we thought GM… Read more »

I think Hyundai has the sights on the wrong company.

A minority of people would identify Toyota as the technology leader in electrification these days.

The Kia Soul EV is a nice looking vehicle that could be a good seller if improved to 150-200 miles range for next year. The Soul is still not available in all 50 states. Probably thats the reason for its low sales. The inoniq EV looks nice but also need more range now that the Model 3 is coming. 200 mile range seems like the norm nowadays.

They probably want to catch-up only to Toyota and VW 😀

VW was third place of EVs sales last year. Only beaten by Nissan-Renault and BYD.

Catchup to VW for such a small manufacturer would be amazing.

Somebody needs to tell Lee Ki-Sang Toyota is not at the front of the pack…