2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, Ioniq Electric, and Ioniq Plug-InEnlarge Photo
Korean siblings Hyundai and Kia will aggressively increase production of electric cars next year, according to a report in the Korean press.
The production increase comes amid the combined automaker's goal to become the second largest maker of green vehicles (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars) by 2020.
Hyundai-Kia set the goal in 2014, but thus far, it has reached only the number-four spot.
Business Korea reports the increased production output to 50,000 electric cars will place the automakers in a better position to achieve that long-term goal.
A spokesperson from Hyundai-Kia said the launch of a new electric vehicle, along with increased production (presumably of more conventional hybrid-electric cars), would secure the number-two spot.
"We ranked third in sales of [electrified] vehicles among automakers by selling more than 2 million units through last year," the spokesperson said. "If we launch a new electric vehicle, we will be able to take second place."
2018 Hyundai Kona
2018 Hyundai KonaEnlarge Photo
Looking at 2016 alone, Hyundai and Kia ranked fourth in green vehicle sales, but eleventh in electric-car sales—something expected to change relatively swiftly.
Production plans over the next year include battery-electric versions of both the Hyundai Kona compact crossover and the Kia Niro, now offered only as a hybrid.
The two makes expect to build 13,000 units of the Kona electric car and 12,000 units of the Niro electric, for 25,000 additional units of production, according to the report.
Combined with current Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Kia Soul EV production, that brings the production total of plug-in electric vehicles to 50,000.
Additionally, the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid will arrive at the end of 2017 as a 2018 model alongside the launch of the Niro plug-in hybrid.
Hyundai's promised 400-mile fuel-cell SUV will also likely help the Korean automakers reach its green-car goal, though it is likely to contribute smaller numbers than the battery-electric models.
2017 Kia Niro
2017 Kia NiroEnlarge Photo
The future production vehicle was previewed by the Hyundai FE Fuel Cell concept earlier this year; the brand plans to launch the SUV sometime in 2018.
The fuel-cell SUV will likely go on sale in only a handful of states since hydrogen-fueling station infrastructure remains in its infancy.
California remains the sole state with more than a dozen hydrogen fueling stations; the total as of this month is 33 sites, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Hyundai and Kia aren't alone in their goal of rising toward the top of the electric and hybrid car race.
Volkswagen has lofty plans for its electric cars, Tesla will ramp up production of its Model 3 sedan, and the second-generation Nissan Leaf is just weeks away from launch.
As they say, competition is good for everybody.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]