Going hybrid and electric is currently the flavour of the global automotive industry. Even carmakers who earlier stuck to the fuel category have begun experimenting. The segment is fairly new, unexplored and helps carmakers do their bit for the environment as well. Latest news in this section will be Hyundai Motor Company’s plans to launch its first battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) in 2016.
The market, as of now, is talking only of the offerings from Nissan and BMW in this respect. Hyundai’s decision was relayed by Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang, who said, "Hyundai is preparing to launch an EV in 2016." The announcement was made at the Korean launch of a battery-powered version of affiliate Kia Motors Corp's Soul compact.
With this the Korean manufacturer, who is already big in the fuel-cell cars segment, will be venturing into the electric car territory which has notable names like Nissan and BMW in it. So far, lack of charging stations and relatively short driving ranges, pricey batteries have kept the battery-powered EV market niche. Even so, the number of battery-powered EVs is on the rise, as BMW's i3 and Nissan's Leaf are widely expected to reach Korea this year - as will Kia's Soul EV.
The company revealed that this car will be Hyundai-Kia's first battery-powered EV export, with destinations including US and Europe.
India’s stand on this segment is yet to be made known. However, things are moving in a positive direction in India as the government is actively supporting this move. The Ministry of Industries is likely to roll out the subsidy for electric cars under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan by April next year. The biggest player in the electric cars market, here, is Mahindra Reva who has a Greenfield Facility outside Bengaluru where they manufacture the e2o. The car is expected to be joined by hybrid models from Tata and Maruti Suzuki. If Hyundai decides India is a good enough market for them, then we will see some growth in the EV segment here.