Hyundai plans long-range e-car in strategic shift

Seeking to catch up to Tesla and other rivals, South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company has decided to place electric vehicles at the center of its product strategy.

Like Japanese auto giant Toyota, Hyundai had primarily championed fuel cell technology as the future of environment-friendly vehicles but it is now trying to focus on electric vehicles as Tesla’s battery-powered cars shot to prominence.

In a newly held news conference, Hyundai’s Executive Vice President Lee Kwang-guk said, “We’re strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles.”

Hyundai has plans to launch an e-sedan under its high-end Genesis brand by 2021 that will likely be capable of running 500 kilometers (310 miles) on a single charge.

The South Korean auto giant is planning to introduce an electric version of its Kona sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the first half of next year. It will likely have a range of 390 kilometers.

The South Korean automaker’s first pure electric vehicle IONIQ was launched last year. It has a driving range of just 191 kilometers per charge, notably shorter than those of e-cars made by Tesla and General Motors.