While Hyundai is currently focusing its research on the alternative power system with fuel cells, Kia has already announced its first all-electric battery powered car, the Kia Soul EV.
Now, Hyundai is set to follow into its subsidiary’s footsteps, readying a battery electric car of its own. South Korea’s champion of fuel-cell cars has been very focused on setting up vehicles that turn hydrogen into electricity to champion its presence in the future of green tech.
But, as Kia’s Soul EV approaches the launch in its home market, so does the competition – like Nissan’s Leaf or the more upmarket BMW i3.
“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. “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 added.
Kia, which is 34% owned by Hyundai has announced it would start manufacturing the Soul EV for the local market next month – hoping to attract customers with its 42 million won ($39,400) price tag. It may seem big, but after government subsidies, the model would cost a customer around half, very close to the well-equipped gasoline versions.