Reports claim Hyundai is halting development of internal combustion engines

There is no official confirmation from Hyundai yet, but Korea Economic Daily and Business Korea both report that Hyundai Motor Group has closed its internal combustion engine development office and shifted all of its focus to developing powertrains for electric cars.

KDE reports that new R&D chief Park Chung-kook sent an email to the 12,000 employees at the Namyang R&D center just before Christmas saying, “Now it is inevitable to switch to electrification. Developing our own engine is a great achievement, but we need to change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset of the past. The immediate task is to develop innovative vehicles capable of dominating the future market. This reorganization will be an important starting point for the change to come in the new year. »

The transmission system development center, first established in 1983, will now become an electrification test center, while the powertrain performance development center will become an electrification performance development center. Researchers from the Engine Design Unit have moved to the Electrification Design Center, although a small group continues to explore modifications to existing internal combustion engines made by the company.

Additionally, a battery development center has been established within the electrification development division to pursue advanced battery technology. It will have teams for battery design and battery performance development, and will also focus on the supply chain for raw materials that batteries and semiconductors will need in the future.

Hyundai Motor CEO Chang Jae-hoon recently said the company would take aggressive steps to transform into an electric vehicle maker as soon as possible, with a goal of selling 1.7 million electric vehicles worldwide. per year by 2026.

Engine 1 says the announcement coincides with significant leadership changes at Hyundai towards the end of this year. Albert Biermann recently announced his retirement as head of corporate R&D, and head of design Peter Schreyer is also moving into a new role. In addition, no less than 200 executive promotions took place, including a third in the R&D division.

“Many of the new appointments represent the next generation of leaders and have been recognized for their achievements and their role in the continued success of the group,” a company spokesperson said in a statement on the personnel changes.

Discover the Ioniq 7

Like the Volkswagen MEB platform, Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP electric car platform can serve as the basis for a range of cars of different sizes. Its main claim to fame is its 800 volt architecture and fast charging capability which is equal to the best (that would be Tesla) and better than most (like in Volkswagen, Ford, GM, Volvo, Nissan and pretty much any other electric car manufacturer you wish to name.)

The E-GMP is used for the Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6, and now it looks like it will also be the basis for a 3-row, 7-passenger people carrier known as the Ioniq 7. A concept version of this car was on display. at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, showcasing the company’s self-driving ambitions. The show car had no steering wheel, only a joystick, for example.

Jose Munoz, CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, says Engine trend the production model is more advanced than you might think. “A lot of things can happen in production,” he says. “It’s going to be pretty close. You will be amazed. The aerodynamic shape of the Seven’s exterior shows production intent, says SangYup Lee, head of Genesis Global Design. Some older readers may see hints of the iconic Volvo 1800ES from the 70s, one of the most beautiful of all Volvo designs. However, Hyundai really needs to do something about that horrible grille.

Image courtesy of Hyundai

The concept has the longest wheelbase of any Hyundai to date – nearly 11 feet. It has pillarless coach doors on the passenger side and symmetrical doors on the driver’s side. Expect the production Ioniq 7 to return to conventional doors all around. “The interior is a bit more visionary than the exterior because we have a vision of full autonomy,” says Lee. “In the meantime, we can give him [Ioniq 7] a regular steering wheel, but we still want to create a feeling of family lounge space.

Hyundai wanted a new in-car experience for customers with an innovative use of space, said Thomas Schemera, Hyundai’s global marketing director. To this end, the front and rear seats swivel to face forward or aft, there is a 77 inch widescreen screen in the ceiling and a universal island with a 27 inch screen which can be used for watching a movie or be a work space. No one knows if any of these features will make it into the production version of the car, which is expected to go on sale in 2924.

The huge transparent rooftop monitor is doable, but it might not make sense to bring it to market now, says Gil Castillo, senior group director, Alternative Vehicle and Advanced Vehicle Strategy, for Hyundai Motor North America . Rather, it was an exploration of what’s possible when vehicles become autonomous and interiors are recreated as mobile living rooms.

The cabin includes many recyclable materials such as copper and bamboo, Lee notes. Hygiene is a central theme that will be incorporated into the production car. The Seven concept has numerous air filters and a “hygiene mode” to clean the car between uses. The airflow system mimics that of an airplane, with ventilation that allows each row to breathe different air in a pressurized cabin. Among the many storage spaces inside is a box where shoes can be placed to clean and deodorize them while driving.

Takeaway meals

Some mainstream automakers are pretending to embrace the idea of ​​converting their production to electric vehicles. Truth be told, GM and Ford are doing all they can to bring electric trucks to market and that’s a good thing, but they’re also not talking about electric cars for mainstream drivers. The all-new electric Hummer, at almost 10,000 pounds, is an embarrassment – an outgrowth that will appeal to a very limited range of (very wealthy) drivers, much like the original Hummer. Both are devices that allow middle-aged men who are worried about their sexual potency to parade like deer during mating season.

There are very few companies that seem to be entirely focused on building electric vehicles only. Today, that list includes Tesla, Volkswagen, and Hyundai Group. More power for them and god speed.


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