Hyundai’s Genesis Planning a Future Filled With Electric Cars

Possibly followed by hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

byRob Stumpf|
Electric Vehicles photo

In late 2015, Hyundai split Genesis off from its main line of vehicle offerings into its own luxury brand. Upon doing so, it promised six brand new models (three sedans, two SUVs, and a sports coupe, according to a leaked roadmap) to market within five years. Following the path of many manufacturers this year, the South Korean automaker decided to focus on the new hot trend: electricity.

At the Busan International Auto Show in 2016, Manfred Fitzgerald (former Lamborghini director of brand and design turned Senior Vice President of Genesis) knew that electric vehicles (EVs) were something that Genesis would focus on.

“We will definitely go as Genesis brand down the road of alternative propulsions and it is very, very obvious that EV is definitely on the map.”

Manfred Fitzgerald

Less than a year later, another senior vice president of Hyundai (this time the one in charge of zero emission vehicle operations), announced the new venture which the company would put stake in. Lee Ki-sang confirmed this by talking to spilling the details to Reuters ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show.

Hyundai is preparing for the future by readying “a high up-front investment” for electric vehicles, which it believes will make up 10 percent of its sales by 2025. In more of a twist, this timeline works in part with words spoken by Dave Zuchowski, CEO of Hyundai North America regarding the future of a type of powertrain that has barely gotten its foot in the door of the American auto industry:

“[EVs will be] an intermediate step before hydrogen fuel cell vehicles take hold in the coming decades.”

Dave Zuchowski

Previously, it was believed that the Genesis would drop its turbocharged four-cylinder motor to offer a more premium V8 geared towards the “premium performance buyer.” According to Genesis lead designer Luc Donckerwolke, this plan pivoted towards electrification due to shifting environmental regulations in key markets.

“Diesels are being banned from the cities […] Emissions have to be reduced drastically. Today a V8 is not exactly responding to that environment.”

Luc Donckerwolke

Hyundai believes that as brands mature towards electrified vehicles, performance will be less of a key seller due to it evening out across most cars. Brands may be identified more by their market presence or ability to connect to the devices in the consumer’s life more easily. With newer cars integrating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, manufacturers are already taking steps to integrating into smart devices.

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