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Hyundai Motor Considering Launching New Electric Vehicle in Europe First
An Unusual Move
Hyundai Motor Considering Launching New Electric Vehicle in Europe First
  • By Michael Herh
  • October 10, 2019, 10:24
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Hyundai Motor’s concept electric vehicle 45

Hyundai Motors is reportedly considering launching a new electric vehicle (project name: NE) in the European market first before its launch in Korea.

Hyundai is planning to produce the new model NE at its Ulsan plant in Korea during the first quarter of 2021, said sources in the Korean automobile industry on Oct. 9. The new car is a compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) and a pure electric vehicle (EV). The NE will be based on the EV concept car 45 unveiled at the International Motor Show Germany, which was recently held in Frankfurt, Germany. The 45 is based on a reinterpretation of the design of Hyundai Motor’s first concept car Pony Coupe.

Hyundai is considering exporting the NE to Europe first, ahead of its launch in the domestic and U.S. markets. It is very unusual for Hyundai to launch a model overseas first ahead of the Korean market, except for some models specialized for overseas markets. Currently, Hyundai’s total annual output of the NE hovers at around 70,000 units and volume allocation by country has not been determined yet.

Hyundai should cope with tougher environmental regulations in Europe beginning next year. At the end of last year, the European Union (EU) agreed on a sequential reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030 as part of tightening regulations to implement the Paris Climate Accord Agreement. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the EU Commission proposed to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent from 2020 to 2025 and 37.5 percent from 2020 to 2030.

As a result, carmakers have to reduce their European CO2 emissions from 130 g/km to 95 g/km on average beginning next year. A failure to meet this will carry a fine of 95 euros per unit based on excess CO2 emissions and sales. Instead, the European Commission will give a prerogative right to companies whose green car sales account for more than 15 percent of total sales in 2025 and 35 percent of total sales in 2030. The right will ease CO2 emission standards by up to 5 percent.

Hence, a plan is afoot to produce the EV model Kona Electric in the Czech plant in the first quarter of next year. If the plan becomes a reality, it will be Hyundai’s first case to produce electric vehicles at an overseas plant except China. In addition, Hyundai is reportedly planning to produce eco-friendly products such as a hybrid version of the 4th-generation Tucson (project name: NX) in the Czech plant.