Developing low-cost cars & EVs with more range: Hyundai’s SS Kim [Update]

Update: Hyundai has reaffirmed that it plans to launch more affordable electric cars in India. In an interview with recently, Seon Seob Kim the MD & CEO of the company’s Indian subsidiary said that the company has received a tremendous response for the Hyundai Kona Electric and is working on technology for more affordable electric cars.

While the Hyundai Kona Electric is imported from South Korea, the new Hyundai electric cars, the technology of which Kim is referring to, will be manufactured in India. The company was understood to be developing a low cost model series in-house under the ‘Smart EV’ project. As per reports earlier this year, Hyundai could consider partnering with Mahindra Electric, to license technology and offer custom-made EVs for emerging markets.

7 April 2020

Hyundai has announced that it is planning to launch an affordable EV in India in 2022 and now it seems India’s No.2 car maker will develop more electric cars that will be affordable and offer long range.

In conversation with, Hyundai Motor India’s Managing Director & CEO SS Kim has said that the current charging infrastructure is almost nothing and expects the government to play a more significant role in expanding the infrastructure. He says that Hyundai is developing more low-cost cars and vehicles that offer more range, confirming that the company will not stop with one product and is taking India’s EV aspirations seriously.

Hyundai’s first electric car is a compact SUV that will compete with the Tata Nexon and the Mahindra eXUV300. This is the first member of the ‘Smart EV’ project and is exclusively developed for India. The company will build the affordable electric car in India and export to emerging markets where demand for EVs are picking up. Secondly the platform will reportedly get shared with Kia Motors which will launch its own EVs. Kia and Hyundai are sharing most vehicle components in India for the Seltos and Creta, and the Sonet & Venue also have a lot in common, generating scale.

Considering that best selling electric cars include Tata Tigor EV and Mahindra eVerito with the Mahindra eKUV100 also targeting the commercial fleet segment, Hyundai would be studying a purpose-made taxi cab. A ‘Prime EV’ will surely get the desired numbers for Hyundai as Ola Electric, the company it has a stake in, is looking to induct a large number of electric vehicles into its fleet and rentals like Zoomcar are looking to convert their whole fleet into electric. Hyundai could be plotting more electric crossovers, which are the current trend. They offer space for bigger batteries without compromising interior space.

Hyundai will be localizing as much components as possible after the last hike of custom duties in imported units is a clear indication of where the government is heading with respect to EV component tariffs. The Korean carmaker is already in talks with several suppliers for the same and companies like LG Chem have also been consulted with for producing battery cells, it is reported.

Lastly, Hyundai can consider the Mahindra’s MESMA EV platform to generate different types of electric vehicles such as vans or pickups. As per reports, Mahindra has already begun talks to share its home-grown EV architecture with companies like Hyundai, Ashok Leyland and Renault. Experts believe that it would be profitable for companies like Mahindra to work together with other brands for maximising the potential and profits of its investment. Sharing technology will work for the mutual benefit of companies and build a better EV ecosystem. This will become a rare case of Hyundai partnering with another OEM for technology as traditionally the company has developed everything in-house be it petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric, hydrogen or even flying cars.