Hyundai ramping up EV portfolio, eyes leadership in the long run
Hyundai Motor India is eyeing the Number One position in EVs and its aggressive future product plans include a wide range of EVs ranging from small cars to big SUVs.
Though it made an early start in the EV race with the Kona EV, Hyundai Motor India hasn’t built a strong presence in the EV market, but that could soon change. The Ioniq 5 launched at a very aggressive price of Rs 44.95 lakh is the first small salvo that will herald a range of EVs with which the company is aiming to become market leaders.
The South Korean automaker plans to have a wide portfolio of electric vehicles from a small car EV to a large SUV built on multiple platforms which could be both ICE derived electric vehicles or on a dedicated EV skateboard to cater to different price points.
The company would even consider a dedicated EV factory, if the market grows fast enough, said a senior company executive. Unsoo Kim, Managing Director of Hyundai Motor India told our sister publication Autocar India, "We want to be number one in electrification in India. We didn’t expect India to grow so fast, but in India the electrification trend is growing faster than I expected. Globally we have a lot of resources for electrification, but we want to open a new chapter with India." The South Korean car maker has already committed an investment of Rs 4,000 crore to come out with half a dozen model portfolios by 2028. It has even stated that the company will be coming with the E-GMP platform for the Indian market.
Autocar India had exclusively reported in January that Hyundai Motor is working on an ICE derived EV — planned for 2025 — codenamed SU2i EV or Creta EV, which is expected to be its major mainstream EV offering. Till then it will rely on assembled models like the Kona and Ioniq 5. "We will cover all ranges of EVs, some with dedicated EVs, some will be ICE derived. At the start we did some derivatives of the ICE and then moved to a dedicated model. Now, all automakers have both some dedicated EVs and some derivatives of ICE models. Finally, all segments will be EVs, I’m certain. We are exploring all segments. From E-GMP we have Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 7, but we’ll also focus on the smaller cars," added Kim.
The Indian EV market is dominated by Tata Motors with over 85-90 percent market share, the other homegrown rival Mahindra & Mahindra too has entered the fray with XUV 400. Both vehicle makers have set themselves an ambitious target. Tata Motors has set itself a target of selling 1 lakh vehicles by end of FY24, Mahindra & Mahindra wants to sell two lakh EVs by 2027.
On how Hyundai expects the EV penetration to be by the end of decade, Kim says, "We want to be a very trusted brand in India, not only in the internal combustion engine space, but also the electric vehicle market. The Indian government is focusing on EV adoption in a very positive way. Some automotive agencies are forecasting a minimum 50 percent by 2030. From my understanding, maybe a 20 percent penetration is possible in India”.
The cost of batteries are still high and a major impediment to deeper EV penetration, but Kim is confident that with the increase in volumes and favourable scale, all the EV prices will come down. At the back end, the company is working very hard to get the key localisation in place to get its cost structure competitive.
When querried, where Hyundai plans to produce this new range of EVs, Kim said the existing plant is capable of producing both the EVs and IC engine models. When asked if the company is exploring a dedicated EV factory, the MD assured, "As the volume increases, we are considering all options (including a dedicated EV plant). In terms of the capacity, for the last two and a half decades we have increased capacity gradually. We are considering all options right now. We’ll meet the Indian customers’ demand."
On other alternate powertrains, Kim said there is still demand for diesel vehicles and the company will continue to have a strong diesel portfolio in the future. Interestingly with both Maruti Suzuki and Toyota getting a strong reception for hybrids from the Indian buyers, Hyundai Motor too is exploring a potential for hybrids in India.
This feature was first published in Autocar Professional's February 1, 2023 issue.
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