South Korea first-ever International Electric Vehicle Expo had one notable absentee.

BMW i3 - 2014 Geneva Motor Show

BMW i3 - 2014 Geneva Motor Show

You see, a fuel-cell vehicle is not acceptable to put on display at an EV expo, so South Korean automaker Hyundai was forced to skip out on its local EV expo.

Instead, BMW and Nissan we're the claimed show stoppers, with BMW showing off its i3 and Nissan displaying the LEAF.

Hyundai is readying an EV, but that won't launch until sometime in 2016.  For now, Hyundai has only its Tuscon FCEV.

The problem for Hyundai is that South Korea is now pushing for the adoption of electric vehicles.  This means that foreign automakers such as BMW, Nissan and others are racing to launch EVs there.  Meanwhile, Hyundai has to sit back and watch as it has nothing to offer.

Kim Pill Soo, a professor of automotive engineering at South Korea’s Daelim College, stated:

“Hyundai has always been somewhat hesitant in developing eco-friendly cars.  For the next two or three years, Hyundai will have no choice but to just sit tight and watch its competitors have a party.”

When you're two of three years behind, the result is usually game over in that segment.

Source: Bloomberg