Hyundai i10 & Kia Picanto likely to switch to electric in the next generation

The Hyundai Motor Group will not introduce an electric option on entry-level products Hyundai i10 and the Kia Picanto in the current generation but are likely to switch to electric power later this decade.

The Picanto has just received a mid-life facelift in the South Korean market (where it is marketed as the Kia Morning) following its reveal in January 2017. It features a fresher design, new safety features, a bigger infotainment system and enhanced fuel efficiency. The lifecycle of the Picanto is 6-7 years, hence the Kia model would be the first to transition to the fourth generation in 2023.

In an interview to Autonews.com last September, the outspoken Emilio Herrera, Kia Motor Europe’s COO said an electric Picanto was a big challenge but conceded that “sooner or later, we will have to do it.” He added that the company was seriously looking at an electric option for its minicar.

This January Autocar.co.uk reported that unlike arch rivals (VW Up!, Skoda Citigo and the Seat Mii), Hyundai has decided to not immediately pursue a pure electric i10 which has just come into its third generation. Like Kia, Hyundai is looking at an electric option in the long run for the i10, as said by Raf van Nuffel, Head of Product Management & Pricing, Hyundai of Europe, to Autoweek.nl.

The timeline for the fourth generation i10 is mid-2025, which is when a pure electric version is expected to touch down. Ashley Andrew, Hyundai Motor UK managing director, has told the media that 75% of the UK lineup has an electrified option at the moment, and it would go to 100% in 2025. He was referring to the impending electrification of Hyundai’s smaller cars which include the i10 and the i20 as this decade unfolds.

Hyundai did prototypes of the first generation electric i10 in 2009 and presented one at the Delhi Auto Expo 2010. Powered by a 49kW (66 hp) electric motor strapped to a 16 kWh LG lithium-ion battery pack, the i10 electric had a driving range of about 160 km/charge, with a top speed of about 130 km/h. Hyundai chose not to mass-manufacture this variant.

2020 Hyundai i10 rear
The next-generation Hyundai i10 (and its sister car Kia Picanto) are expected to go full-electric when they release mid-decade with a real-world range of over 300 km/charge.

Hyundai Motor Group confirmed this year that it will introduce 44 electrified models by 2025, including 11 dedicated BEV models. From 24 electrified models in 2019, it will expand the lineup to 44 models by 2025, to include 13 hybrids, 6 plug-in hybrids, 23 battery electric and 2 fuel-cell electric vehicles. A new dedicated Hyundai EV architecture is coming up that will support models from 2024.

Come mid-decade, one can expect the fourth generation Hyundai i10 & i20 (and the Kia brand counterparts Kia Picanto & Kia Rio) to spawn battery-electric variants with a range of over 300 km/charge in the real world close to the price of the gasoline version.