Hyundai shifts focus from fuel cell cars to EVs

A long-range electric sedan is in the works for launch next year.

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PA Archive/PA Images
PA Archive/PA Images

Fuel cell champion Hyundai is changing direction with its product strategy, announcing that it will now focus on electric vehicles. The shift comes after Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers have gained traction in the field, and following Chinese government backing for battery-powered cars. "We're strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles," executive vice president Lee Kwang-guk told a news conference, adding that the technology was "realistic". Hyundai now plans to have an electric sedan on the road by 2021, with a range of 500km. Also on the cards is an electric version of its 390km-range Kona SUV, due in the first half of 2018.

But it's not given up on fuel cell altogether. The company has unveiled a near-production version of its new fuel cell SUV, which boasts a driving range of more than 800km per charge -- nearly double the 415km range of its current Tucson fuel cell SUV -- which is due to hit Korean roads next year. A fuel cell bus and a further fuel cell sedan car are also in the works. The company clearly still has its eyes on fuel cell technology as part of its long game, but until it achieves economies of scale electric battery cars will keep it busy.

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