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Hyundai documents out electric ute plans

Rivian R1T competitor one of 13 new EVs planned over the coming decade

22 Jun 2023

HYUNDAI has all but declared its intention to build a rival to the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T at this week’s CEO Investor Day in Seoul.


The annual meeting unveiled the group’s mid-to-long-term business strategies and financial plans under the banner of Hyundai Motor Way, and included details of future autonomous driving, robotics, and advance air mobility projects, alongside a ute-ready second-generation electric vehicle platform.


Alongside sister company Kia, Hyundai said its Integrated Modular Architecture (IMA) will form the basis of 13 electric vehicles in its future portfolio, from small to extra-large, including a “pick-up truck and Genesis models”. The vehicles will be launched between 2025 and 2030, meaning a dual-cab electric ute could be as close as two years’ away.


Hyundai has not said if it will follow Kia in offering a diesel-powered dual-cab utility Down Under, the latest news of a pending all-electric model meaning such a development is now unlikely.


The IMA platform will also offer a diversified range of battery offerings, including LFP (lithium iron phosphate), nickel cobalt magnesium (NCM) and solid state batteries, AI battery diagnosis for “real-time safety”, high-efficiency power systems and motors, the highest collision safety performance yet, advanced autonomous driving (Level 3+) and parking systems, and great interior space with a flat floor, a “pop-up screen” and “swivelling seats”.


Hyundai CEO and president, Jaehoon Chang, said the company aims to “leverage its heritage of innovation and knowledge … in a bid for leadership in the electric vehicle market” and will invest ₩109.4 trillion ($A125.1b) in research and development over the next decade.


Mr Chang said Hyundai aims to sell two million EVs annually by the end of the decade, up from the 1.87 million announced previously, and 400,000 more than sister company Kia.


“The value of cultivating human-centred innovation by further developing technology inherited from the past is the distinct heritage that a company with a rich legacy can provide,” he said.


“As it originated from Pony, the Ioniq 5 N – a high-performance EV scheduled for unveiling in July – will embrace and carry forward the enduring heritage of Hyundai Motor Company.”


Mr Chang said the development system implemented by the IMA platform represents a “significant advancement” when compared with the current SUV-oriented Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). With 80 common modules that may be utilised across various segments, IMA offers distinct economies of scale benefits over “nearly all vehicle classes, ranging from small and large SUVs to pick-up trucks, along with the flagship models of the Genesis brand”.


Hyundai will not only focus on its EV plans but focus on the infrastructure required to produce so many new electric vehicles. It will build new, dedicated EV facilities but also work to ensure such models can be built at existing ICE plants, which it says is “more cost efficient than building more EV-dedicated factories”.


So called Smart Factory technology will see the combination of significantly improved logistics and assembly automation rates accelerate the number of vehicles that can be produced and allow Hyundai to target “more than 10 per cent profitability for EVs” by 2030.


Further, Hyundai reinforced its stance on hydrogen mobility saying it will bolster its reputation as a global leader in fuel cell electric vehicles by securing “a new growth axis by building a hydrogen energy ecosystem at the group level”.


The group-level “Mobilise Energy” toolbox includes the production of green steel and “resource-circulating hydrogen” that will even go so far as to decarbonise the heat and power sources for its various business sites. Hyundai said it will “build hydrogen mobility, fuel cells and accompanying infrastructure, and eco-friendly systems, using hydrogen”.


*Hyundai Santa Cruz shown for illustrative purposes.

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