Hyundai Plans To Release Electric Car In The USA Soon
Hyundai has always been reluctant to adopt battery power, but it appears that stance may have changed as they are set to release their very first electric car in the US market.
There are no real specifics available as of yet, even though the company already has a compact battery electric vehicle called the BlueOn available in South Korea.
It appears that Hyundai Motors America may have had their hand forced in delivering an electric vehicle, especially if they want to stay on the good side of regulators in the busy California market.
News update: Hyundai to launch Ioniq electric car in Q3 (2017)!
Fuel cells or electric battery-powered Hyundai?
Hyundai Motor America Chief Executive John Krafcik said that the zero-emission focus of the company is still with fuel cell at the moment, although he did say an all electric Hyundai car would be on the horizon.
Hyundai is still something of the new kid on the block when it comes to battery-based vehicles that can be anything from hybrids to plug-ins to full battery electric cars.
As of now, the company offers hybrid versions of the Sonata and Elantra in the US.
The time is near when California will demand that all of the major automakers offer some sort of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) in their line-ups.
There are already a few out there including the likes of the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus EV, the Tesla Model S, the new Chevrolet Spark EV, Honda’s Fit EV and the Toyota RAV4-EV.
Hyundai has already stated that it would try to meet regulatory mandates by going the fuel cell route.
Those types of vehicles use a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen to power an electric vehicle and are often referred to as “refillable batteries.”
The Korean automaker started selling the hydrogen-powered version of the ix35 in Europe earlier this month, with a fuel-cell Tuscon allegedly coming soon, as well.
The major appeal with hydrogen is that it can quickly be refilled, but the sticking point is that there are still very few refueling stations available, which is sure to put a dent in customer appeal.
That is a factor that could make Hyundai look more seriously at a battery car.
That’s not to say that battery cars don’t some without any type of limitations, and we don’t just mean range.
High costs of electric cars
These types of cars are notoriously expensive to build, and while they have been charging steep premiums, many of the automakers are forced to absorb much of the added cost.
For example, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has already stated that the company will take a $10,000 hit on every Fiat 500e that it sells in California.
That’s one of the reasons why you won’t see too many of the current BEV models like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S available across the country.
Most of the other big automakers are keeping their BEV models in the California market, as well as a few other states that are looking to adopt the same rules as the Golden State.
It is unsure whether Hyundai will go nationwide or choose to stick with what many critics are calling a “compliance car.”
Hyundai BlueOn Electric Car
The fact that Hyundai already has the BlueOn electric car available in their domestic market means that it could fairly easily be made available here in the States.
The Korean model currently delivers about 90 miles on a full charge, with a top speed of about 80 mph. The vehicle is powered by a 16.4-kilowatt/hour lithium polymer battery, and goes from 0 to 60 in 13.1 seconds.
A prototype version of the car, which was roughly based on the i10, made its first appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. Production actually commenced late last year.
It makes sense for Hyundai to bring the BlueOn to the States, but the concern is that the range and speed limitations of the vehicle would put it on par with the slow-selling Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
That has prompted several observers to suggest that they wouldn’t be surprised to see the Koreans take an alternative electric car route.
The possibilities include improving the performance of the Hyundai BluOn or moving to a different model altogether.
Krafcik is remaining tight-lipped about the whole thing for now, which includes when we might actually see a Hyundai electric battery car here in the US.