Hyundai has made its intent clear that it is developing an ‘affordable’ electric car for the Indian masses. Today we learn that the company is planning to showcase the concept as early as Auto Expo 2022. According to the Economic Times, Hyundai is fast-tracking the plan for the budget EV and aims to maximise the localisation of its components.
As the government has announced a hike in the customs duties on CBUs, CKDs and imported component, Hyundai is looking at grouping more local suppliers to source parts for its EVs to keep the costs in check. SS Kim, Managing Director of Hyundai Motor India has told the Economic Times that Hyundai will be looking to localise the mass-market EVs as much as its conventional vehicles, which stand at over 90 per cent. Hyundai is already in talks with many potential suppliers in order to increase localisation and also been in contact with several global battery suppliers like LG Chem for procuring the Li-Ion cells locally.
We understand the government’s direction of Make in India. We will look to localise more. We are already localising some plastic parts and some interior parts on the Kona. The company is looking at multiple partnerships to create a manufacturing ecosystem to ensure that EVs become mainstream and accessible.SS Kim, Managing Director, Hyundai Motor India
Hyundai India has started customer research and studies to lock-in the several parameters for EVs like range, charging time, price etc. The study is conducted by Hyundai’s India team along with the engineers at the Namyang R&D Centre in South Korea.
Indicators at this point on the body type for the first Hyundai electric car are suggesting a small SUV. The vehicle will launch at a price of under Rs. 10 lakh with a real world range of about 200 km. Hyundai, EVW understands, does not intend to make a low-range product and would like to differentiate the vehicle’s design for the owner to make a public statement about his eco-consciousness. Hyundai is expected to follow up the mini SUV with other body shapes on the Smart EV platform, a competitor to the Tata Tigor and the Ford Aspire/Mahindra eVerito twins is an educated guess.
While Hyundai already has the Kona electric, it is brought in as a completely knocked down unit, giving the Rs. 24 lakh car a modest sales target of 500 units in 2020. It can be said that Hyundai will be playing catch-up with rivals in the ‘affordable’ EV race – Tata already has the Nexon EV and Tigor EV (with the Altroz EV and the HBX EV on the way) while Mahindra has the eKUV100 (and eXUV300 on the way) that are accessible for the mass segment.