Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea’s champion of fuel-cell electric vehicles (EV), will answer calls for manufacturers to make more zero-emission cars by launching its first rechargeable battery-powered vehicle in 2016.
Hyundai, like Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp, has long concentrated on fuel-cell vehicles powered by electricity generated using hydrogen, touting their longer driving range and shorter refill times.
But like Toyota, Hyundai is expanding its offering by also investing in battery-powered cars — the staple green offering of Hyundai affiliate Kia Motors Corp.
“There is no clear direction about which eco-friendly cars will win. We are dividing the roles of Hyundai and Kia, with Hyundai launching fuel cell cars and Kia focusing on electric cars,” said senior vice-president Lee Ki-sang, who leads the eco-friendly car divisions of both Hyundai and Kia.
“But the time will come when Kia will introduce a fuel-cell car. Hyundai is also preparing to launch a (battery-powered) electric car in 2016.”
Zero-emission vehicles are likely to become a more frequent sight as governments devise environment-friendly initiatives.
California, for instance, requires auto makers produce a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles as part of their overall fleet or buy credits from manufacturers who have produced more.