Hyundai is jumping on the all-electric bandwagon after spending years dabbling with hybrid cars. The South Korean car maker announced on Wednesday that it was developing an architecture to create long-range, fully-electric cars in a bid to catch up with the likes of Tesla, Chevy, Nissan, and other automakers with EVs on the road. Previously, the company was a proponent of fuel cell vehicles and hybrids, but changing investor attitudes and regulatory pushes have led to a change in strategy.
“The electric-vehicle platform will require high up-front investments but we are doing this to prepare for the future,” Lee Ki-sang, head of Hyundai-Kia’s green car operations, told Reuters.
Lee told the publication that he expects electric cars to account for 10 percent of global car sales by 2025, up from the current one percent. The company plans to release an electric SUV based on existing designs this year, described as “competitive” models with a range over 186 miles per charge.
The company needs a new electric-focused architecture in order to build cars with a sustainable range. The plan is to fit the cars with the battery packs underneath the flooring, allowing for greater capacity and more cabin space. Hyundai will also launch a luxury electric car under the company’s Genesis brand in the year 2021.
The company has big plans for the electric future. In January, the company demonstrated a concept car at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The “Hyundai Mobility Vision Concept,” a wall dock for an autonomous vehicle, looked outlandish but it showed the company has unique ideas about the future of electric vehicles.
The new platform will take time to develop, but it will help Hyundai bring its ideas to life.
“The separate platform may incur losses initially, but Hyundai will be left behind the market if they don’t offer long-distance models, like 300 km, 500 km and 600 km,” Ko Tae-bong, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities, told Reuters.
Hyundai isn’t the only company rethinking its electric car strategy. On Wednesday, Mercedes-Benz revealed it had revised its electric vehicle plans. Where before it was planning to release 10 electric cars by 2025, this has now been pulled forward to 2022.