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Hyundai Dives Into OTA Updates, Subscription Features With $12.6B Connected Car Plan

Future Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis cars will leave the factory one way, but could be something different in your driveway.

Cars in the future will rely just as much on software and subscriptions as steel and rubber, executives from Hyundai said Tuesday. That was the key as the automaker rolled out a sweeping, multi-billion program for electric vehicles and a software architecture that will make their Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis cars rolling platforms for software updates as much as they are vehicles for passengers. 

“Creating visionary vehicles empowered with the ability to evolve through software will enable customers to keep their vehicles up to date with the latest features and technology long after they have left the factory,” Hyundai R&D Division President Chung Kook Park said in a statement. 

Hyundai said it’ll spend nearly $12.6 billion on the program by 2030, and it’ll introduce two new electric-vehicle platforms as part of the program. The first platform, called eM, will be designed specifically for passenger vehicles, and offer improvements in driving range of up to 50% compared to current EVs. The platform will be scalable across segments and be designed to support “Level 3 or higher autonomous driving technology,” according to the company. 

The second platform, dubbed eS, will be designed for commercial vehicles, ride-sharing, and delivery services. 

In the broad plan, the company said it would offer subscription-based features in its cars but didn’t specify what those features would be when asked. Other automakers such as BMW, Honda and Volkswagen have flirted with subscription-based features before, presumably to recoup revenue lost in after-sales and service. In its presentation, Hyundai said its cars could receive over-the-air updates for nearly everything—including performance—meaning that what rolled out of the factory as a base model could presumably become a performance model with enough subscriptions. 

Hyundai said it will begin rolling out Connected Car Services globally in 2023 and, by 2025, all of its vehicles will be able to receive OTA updates. Hyundai also said it would offer subscription-based services beginning next year but didn’t specify what those would be and what cars they would appear in first. 

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