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Hyundai Looking to Boost EV Production to Rival Tesla: Report

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【Summary】Hyundai, a long-time champion of hydrogen technology, is switching gears to focus on electric-vehicle production to take on Tesla in its home country of South Korea.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 01, 2020 6:00 AM PT
Hyundai Looking to Boost EV Production to Rival Tesla: Report

Hyundai was once one of the few automakers that looked to hydrogen as the way forward for the automotive industry. While the majority of automakers saw battery-powered electric cars as the future, Hyundai went in another direction by focusing on hydrogen. That's why Hyundai is just one of three brands to have a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in the U.S. – along with Honda and Toyota. Unfortunately, hydrogen vehicles haven't caught on globally or in the U.S. as quickly as battery-powered EVs have. And Hyundai finds itself on the back foot.

Hyundai Now Looking To EVs

What the brand, according to a report by Reuters, is looking to do now, is pivot into the world of battery-powered electric cars. To that end, the outlet claims that Hyundai will come out with two production lines that are bespoke to electric cars. One is coming out in 2021, while the other will go live in 2024.

Beyond the production lines, Hyundai is looking to bolster its battery and electronic part supply. Hyundai is reportedly holding talks with Samsung, LG, and SK Group to secure a large supply of crucial components that are needed to build electric vehicles. Reuters claims Hyundai is also collaborating with Korean battery suppliers "to scale up" its EV production in an efficient manner.

Why the sudden change of heart? Apparently, it all boils down to Tesla. Hyundai wasn't too worried about Tesla when it was manufacturing vehicles that competed in the luxury segment. But the introduction of the Model 3, which is a mainstream vehicle with a more affordable price tag than the automaker's other EVs, has given the South Korean company something to worry about. Furthermore, Hyundai has seen Tesla enter its home market and beat every other competitor. Reuters claims that Tesla had its best month in June, outselling the Hyundai Kona EV and EVs from BMW and Audi.

Why Hyundai Is Making The Switch

An unnamed source told Reuters that, "Hyundai did not expect Tesla to dominate the EV market so quickly." According to information from LMC Automotive Tesla delivered 367,500 EVs last year, while Hyundai only sold 86,434. If Hyundai wants to take Tesla on at its own game, it's going to take some pretty large changes.

To that end, Hyundai plans to introduce 23 battery-powered vehicles by 2025. By the same year, the automaker will only introduce two hydrogen models. By 2025, Hyundai also wants to sell 1 million battery-powered EVs a year and account for 10 percent of the global market share. It sure sounds like 2025 is going to be a busy year for the brand.

All of the things Hyundai is doing, at least to Reuters, looks like aggressive moves to expand its EV capacity. Unfortunately for Hyundai, it might be a little too late. The automaker currently has seven electrified vehicles available in America. The Kona Electric and the Ioniq Electric are the only fully electric cars available. The majority of other electrified vehicles are hybrids or plug-in hybrids. Whether Hyundai can fully shift gears to take on Tesla remains to be seen, but time certainly isn't on its side

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