Hyundai Motor Co. plans to start selling its first battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) in 2016 as South Korea’s champion of fuel-cell cars hedges its bets in next-generation green technology.
Hyundai has leant toward engines which turn hydrogen into electricity in response to stricter emissions regulations in markets such as the U.S. Research and development partner Kia Motors Corp. has focused on rechargeable batteries.
But the division of labor is blurring at a time when the number of battery-powered EVs is on the rise. BMW’s i3 and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd’s Leaf are widely expected to reach Korea this year – as will Kia’s Soul EV.
“There is no clear direction about which eco-friendly cars will win. We are dividing roles of Hyundai and Kia, with Hyundai launching fuel cell cars and Kia focusing on electric cars,” Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang told reporters on Tuesday.
“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,” Lee said at the Korean launch of the Soul.
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