South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co plans to invest 40 billion rupees ($530m) to launch six electric vehicles in India by 2028, making a push for clean driving in a country that’s home to some of the world’s most polluted cities.
Hyundai, India’s second largest carmaker, will launch affordable and premium electric models, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and sedans, starting with its first electric vehicle (EV) in 2022, said Tarun Garg, director sales and marketing for Hyundai Motor India, on Wednesday.
“We want to be a key contributor to the EV story in India,” Garg told Reuters.
The investment will be sunk into research and development to launch the six vehicles, Hyundai’s Indian arm said in a release.
Stricter emission regulations by governments are propelling automakers globally to invest in EVs, sales of which are expected to increase to about a quarter of total global vehicle sales by 2030 from about 2 percent today.
In India, EVs account for less than 1 percent of total car sales, but the government is aiming for a share of 30 percent by 2030.
The push for electric
Hyundai’s plans also come as the world’s biggest electric car maker Tesla Inc is preparing to launch its cars in India and has been lobbying the government to lower import duties on EVs.
Hyundai joins rivals Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra in throwing its weight behind EVs at a time when India is pushing car makers to go electric, as it looks to reduce pollution and fuel imports. The country’s top car maker, Maruti Suzuki, however, is betting on alternate fuels and hybrid technology, and expects to launch EVs starting only in 2025.
Hyundai’s EVs will either be built on its dedicated electric global modular platform (E-GMP), which it plans to bring to India, or on a modified platform on which it currently builds its gasoline cars, Garg said.
The cars built on its dedicated electric platform will have a range of up to 800 kilometres (497 miles), whereas the others will be able to run for 350 to 400 kilometres (217 to 249 miles) on a single charge, he said.
The company in 2019 launched its Kona EV in India but sales were tepid as the price was high and charging infrastructure was negligible at the time.
Garg said Kona taught the company the need to make its EVs affordable, while also providing different charging solutions.
Hyundai is in talks with suppliers to locally source and manufacture components for its EVs, which will help it make the cars more affordable. In addition to providing home chargers, Hyundai is also looking to form strategic tie-ups to provide public charging facilities, Garg said.
“Kona was about testing the waters in India. The learnings from it have given us the confidence to make this push,” he said.