While Hyundai India’s top boss confirmed that HMIL will be launching an affordable electric car in India under Rs 10 lakh, he has updated reporters yesterday during the celebration of the 3 millionth Made-In-India car for the export markets at the plant near Chennai.
S S Kim, Hyundai Motor India MD & CEO, spoke to reporters shortly after the roll out. He stated that the company will launch the affordable EV in 2-3 years. Hyundai has already launched a pure-electric car in the form of Hyundai Kona SUV in 2019. The Kona costs upwards of Rs 23 lakh and has received a fairly decent response from Indian buyers and has importantly presented data about demographics, consumer behaviour, preferred charging methods and driving distances for HMIL’s product development teams to use.
Going by the trend of the Indian market, the first affordable electric car is likely to be a crossover featuring the ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design language. Hyundai sells electric versions of the Kona and Ioniq globally, both designed with a crossover-SUV elements.
Last year reports said that Hyundai is investing around $200 million on the development of a new EV platform for an affordable electric car. It was reported then that the first vehicle would roll out in 2022. The “Smart EV” project got the nod from the Hyundai headquarters last year and the dedicated electric vehicle architecture will be localized in India which would become the manufacturing hub for emerging markets’ EV needs. The architecture would be shared between Hyundai and group brand Kia and it is implied that several body shapes will be introduced with the same core components.
This year Hyundai Motor Group announced that a new EV architecture the company is working on will be introduced and applied to global models slated for launch in 2024. As stated by Hyundai, the company has plans to introduce 44 electrified models by 2025 that will include 13 hybrids, six plug-in hybrids, 23 battery electric vehicles and two fuel cell electric vehicles globally.
The Hyundai electric car India project will not be without competitors. Mahindra’s KUV100 EV is one of the rivals, the Kwid electric is almost certainly another, whereas Tata Motors is expected to launch the Tata Hornbill urban-style electric SUV for a price of under Rs 10 lakh. Group brand Kia Motors is also expected to bring out its mass-market electric car on the Smart EV platform.