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Hyundai and Kia electric cars to get new platform and bold looks

Surprised by demand for its e-Niro and Kona EVs, Hyundai Group is pressing ahead with bold plans for future electric models

Hyundai Kona Electric - badge

Hyundai Group brands Hyundai, Kia and Genesis are set to benefit from a new electric car platform, similar to the Volkswagen Group’s MEB technology, while more radical designs for the brands’ dedicated EVs are promised, too.

“A new platform dedicated to electric vehicles is about two years away,” a company insider revealed to Auto Express. “It will probably focus on B-[small] and C-[medium] segment cars.”

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Hyundai and Kia have already said they will have 38 green cars in their line-up by 2025, including 14 EVs. Premium brand Genesis is also expected to launch an all-electric car by 2021. Meanwhile the Group will push on with the development of fuel cell vehicles in addition to today’s Hyundai Nexo model.

Currently all of Hyundai Group’s electrified cars are versions of existing models on current platforms, but design boss Luc Donckerwolke has hinted that he plans to push his design teams to come up with more radical proposals for the new range of EVs.

“When it comes to electric vehicles you have to ask whether you want science fiction or whether you want to conform,” he told us. “We can create something that doesn’t appeal to someone in the traditional sense.

“We need to appeal to millennials and next generation car buyers. They’re not car people – they want to buy something else.”

Donckerwolke also revealed how 3D printing was going to have an effect on future car design and materials used. “3D printing is a game-changer,” he said. “With 3D printing we have to ask things like whether we could print a [seat] fabric that’s thick enough that you don’t need foam.”

Currently, three EVs are available from the group. Hyundai has the Kona Electric and the electric version of the Ionic, which is due to get a larger battery later this year, while Kia has the e-Niro. An all-electric version of the new Kia Soul, that we’ve already tested, will arrive at the end of the year. However, such has been the demand for electric models that both the Kona Electric and e-Niro are sold out. Increased supply should arrive next year, though, with a spokesperson telling us: “Customer demand has been higher than expected. It’s going to take six months to adjust to that level of demand.”

Could you live with an electric car? Find out here...

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