Hyundai shuts down gasoline, diesel engine development division

Render of Hyundai Venue electric SUV by Moto Show

Hyundai has streamlined its R&D center by combining project management teams and product integration development teams to accelerate the development of electric vehicles

The global auto industry is moving at a breakneck pace from the current model of IC motor to battery powered electric vehicles. Many major car brands have set a deadline to convert all or a percentage of their portfolio to electric vehicles.

In a major boost to its electrification strategy, Hyundai announced the closure of its engine development center at its Namyang R&D center in South Korea. This in effect means that the South Korean car giant will no longer develop a new internal combustion engine (IC).

No new Hyundai IC engines in future

According to a Korean press report, Hyundai shut down the engine development division of its research and development center on December 23, 2021. The Namyang R&D center is home to the brains of around 12,000 researchers working for Hyundai. This development was revealed in an email from R&D chief Park Chung-kook to employees who said “converting to electrification is inevitable.”

Founded in 1983 by Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-Yung, the Korean automaker introduced its first locally developed IC engine in 1991. Called the Alpha engine, it was later followed by its successors such as Beta, Theta engines. and Nu which were presented in the following years. After nearly four decades of activity, the internal combustion engine development division was closed.

Hyundai India teaser for 2022 highlights electric car
Hyundai India teaser for 2022 highlights electric car

Modification of the engine development division

The powertrain division has been changed to become the electrification development team and will now focus on the development of electric vehicle (EV) powertrains. Previously, EV development units reported to powertrain development units. Researchers from the Engine Design Unit have joined the Electrification Design Center. However, a few will remain in the engines division just to modify existing engines.

As part of the electrification development team, the automaker has also set up a battery development center to secure the advanced battery technology which is the most critical aspect of an EV. This center consists of battery design, battery performance development and others.

Hyundai all electric by 2040

In addition, various sub-groups such as the transmission system development center and the powertrain performance development center are transforming into electric vehicle-focused entities, such as the electrification test center and the center development of electrification performance respectively. Stopping the development of internal combustion engines is important as Hyundai aims to go all-electric in all major markets by 2040.

Earlier in January this year, Hyundai confirmed that it would stop developing any new diesel engines with immediate effect and focus on gasoline, hybrid or fully electric powertrains in the future. The Korean automaker intends to sell 17 lakh of fully electric cars a year globally by 2026.

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