Hyundai set to lead the charge on hybrid, plug-in, fuel cell, and electric vehicles

November 8, 2019

Hyundai plans to launch 13 more alternatively-fueled vehicles by 2022, bringing its total number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, and electric vehicles to 16. With the announcement on Thursday, the South Korean automaker is poised to lead all Asian automakers and compete with luxury German makes for the most models offered with alternative powertrains. 

The redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata will be followed next year with a hybrid model. At 32 mpg combined, the redesigned gas model gets 3 mpg better than the outgoing model, so it's reasonable to expect a similar improvement over the 42 mpg combined on the 2019 Sonata Hybrid. 

For battery electric vehicles such as the Ioniq Electric and Kona EV, Hyundai has already announced a larger battery-pack capacity from 28 kwh to 38 kwh, which has boosted the range of the 2020 Ioniq Electric to 170 EPA-rated miles from 124 miles in the 2019. The Ioniq also comes as a hybrid (HEV), and plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and improvements to those 2020 models will be announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show later in November. 

The latest iterations of Ioniq and Sonata hybrid are joined by the Hyundai Kona EV with its 258-mile range and the Nexo fuel-cell vehicle (380-mile range) in the existing electrified models. Nexo is only available in California, however, while Kona EV and Ioniq EV are limited to the 13 coastal EV states. 

The availability and makeup of the nine future models remains a mystery. Since Hyundai considers the Ioniq a crossover, there will be five sedans and four crossover SUVs that "could include facelifted existing models or new products," Hyundai spokesman Michele Tinson said via email. The new Hyundai Venue subcompact crossover is a likely candidate for electrification. 

Hyundai's commitment to electrification far outstrips its peers. Mazda just announced its first electric vehicle, the MX-30; Subaru and Toyota are teaming up again to develop and EV platform with product expected by 2021, and Nissan is finally set to expand beyond the Leaf with up to eight electric vehicles by 2022, but mostly for China. Honda is also planning more electrified vehicles beyond hybrid versions and the Clarity, but as of right now the lineup is light. 

For now, Hyundai is committed to electrification in the U.S., even though it might be more of a global play.

"Hyundai remains committed to improving the fuel efficiency of its vehicles and offering customers a variety of alternative-powered vehicles as evidenced by the seven hybrid, plug-in, electric and fuel cell vehicles available to U.S. customers today," Tinson said. "Looking forward, we are making significant R&D investments and plan to offer 44 electrified models by 2025 globally, many that will make it to the U.S. market."

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