Hyundai Developing 400 km EV, Pickup for 2020 Launch

2017 Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai says China’s automakers are forcing it to accelerate EV development to the point the South Korean company is promising an all-electric car with a 400 km range before 2020.

This info comes from Automotive News, which says Hyundai is looking to move quickly to keep up with a raft of electric vehicle rivals in the Chinese market, not just better-known competitors like the forthcoming Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3.

That means we’ll likely see new electric vehicles from Hyundai every two years between now and 2020 as the company tries to keep pace with a market segment that is about to accelerate rapidly following a six-year lull in technology development.

A Hyundai exec quoted by AutoNews says there are nearly 200(!) electric vehicle manufacturers in China, a situation he said is partly behind Hyundai’s plan to bring 28 new eco-minded models to market by 2020.

Also on Hyundai’s horizon is a pickup truck model previewed by the Santa Cruz concept first revealed at the 2015 Detroit auto show. The latest update comes from Australia, where local Hyundai CEO Scott Grant says the company is planning a production version of the truck around 2020, albeit probably later than that, rather than sooner.

What the truck will look like remains a question mark, but there is the strong possibility a Hyundai wants to compete with Australian models like the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, which suggests a product of a heavier-duty pedigree than the car-based Santa Cruz.

But we wonder whether Hyundai might develop two different truck models: one for Australia, and another for the rest of the world more like the Honda Ridgeline in concept. The question there is whether Hyundai has the resources to put into two different vehicles for relatively low-volume segments; if Hyundai trucks ahead with the Santa Cruz, our money would be on them finding some compromise it feels might satisfy North America’s appetite for trucks, as well as Australia’s unique ‘ute marketplace.

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Chris Chase

Chris Chase

As a child, Chris spent much of his time playing with toy cars in his parents’ basement; when his mother would tell him to go play outside, he made car sounds while riding his bicycle or dug roads for his toys in the flower garden. Now he gets to indulge his obsession playing with real cars that make their own cool noises, and gets paid for it.