Hyundai, Kia Plan to Build 50,000 Electric Cars in 2018
The production increase comes amid the combined automaker's goal to become the second largest maker of green vehicles (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars) by 2020. Hyundai-Kia set the goal in 2014, but thus far, it has reached only the No. 4 spot. The goal of 50,000 electric cars will place the automakers in a better position to achieve that long-term goal.
A spokesperson from Hyundai-Kia said the launch of a new electric vehicle, along with increased production (presumably of more conventional hybrid-electric cars), would secure the number-two spot.
"We ranked third in sales of [electrified] vehicles among automakers by selling more than 2 million units through last year," the spokesperson said. "If we launch a new electric vehicle, we will be able to take second place."
Production plans over the next year include battery-electric versions of both the Hyundai Kona compact crossover and the Kia Niro, now offered only as a hybrid. The two makes expect to build 13,000 units of the Kona electric car and 12,000 units of the Niro electric, for 25,000 additional units of production, according to the report. Combined with current Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Kia Soul EV production, that brings the production total of plug-in electric vehicles to 50,000.
Additionally, the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid will arrive at the end of 2017 as a 2018 model alongside the launch of the Niro plug-in hybrid.
Hyundai's promised 400-mile fuel-cell SUV will also likely help the Korean automakers reach its green car goal, though it is likely to contribute smaller numbers than the battery-electric models.