Hyundai Motor Co. is developing an electrification platform which turn commercial vehicles, including large trucks, into environmentally friendly cars. This is part of its preemptive response strategy to brace for a higher demand of green commercial vehicles worldwide. The electrification platform is the framework that manufactures hydrogen powered electric cars and electric cars which are the company’s next growth engines.
Hyundai Motor recently formed a “technology system team to develop Commercial vehicles” to develop the electrification platform for commercial vehicles, according to industry sources on March 18. The company unveiled its electric bus “Elec City” in 2017 for the first time in the domestic industry but there is no dedicated platform yet. An official from Hyundai Motor said, “The team was formed to actively respond to expanding demand of electric cars and hydrogen powered electric cars. We are planning to secure technologies and price competitiveness that are needed to commercialize and popularize commercial green cars by promoting extended application of mass production technologies of electric sedan.
Hyundai Motor is seeking to develop the commercial car electrification platform because environmental issues, such as air pollution caused by cars, come into play around the world. In fact, the European Union agreed to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of sedans and small commercial vehicles by 15% by 2025 compared to 2021 and toughen regulations on CO2 emissions of commercial vehicles with a gross weight less than or equal to 3.5 tons at the end of last year.
The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) said the size of the global commercial car market reached 24.76 million units, including small trucks, as of 2017. The output in 2016 surpassed 34 million units. It accounted for nearly 25 percent of the total considering the fact that 70 million units of sedans are being produced every year.
Large commercial vehicles are much more expensive than sedans so it is the market that global automakers cannot ignore. This is why Germany’s Volkswagen Group announced its plans in 2017 to strengthen the electrification and autonomous driving and connectivity functions in commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses, as well. There is also a rumor that the group can enter into a strategic partnership with U.S.-based Ford this year. Global commercial vehicle brand MAN introduced the prototypes of electric truck “eTGM” and all-electric bus at the IAA Commercial Vehicles held in Hannover last year for the first time in the world, while Volvo disclosed its electrified truck “Vera.”