Hyundai created one of the most appealing affordable long-range electric vehicles yet—its Kona Electric crossover—and then has faced widespread criticism for limiting supply well below demand in the U.S. and Europe.
On Thursday the company announced what could help relieve the situation. Starting in March, it will ramp up production of the Kona Electric at its manufacturing plant in the Czech Republic—to about 30,000 EVs in the first year.
Hyundai claims the move will help it become the “biggest provider of zero-emission vehicles in Europe”—with a total of 80,000 units annually available in 2020, more than tripling the current volume ceiling for the model in Europe.
2020 Hyundai Kona Electric
The Czech plant also produces popular non-electric vehicles, so it had to revamp some of the assembly process. Battery supply for the Kona Electric will also be localized to Europe, which Hyundai said “guarantees a stable supply with a reduced distance to the plant as well as a fixed amount of batteries needed for the production of Kona Electric.”
Hyundai had previously said that supply was constrained partly due to strong demand in Hyundai’s South Korean home market. Hyundai Motor America responded for clarification on how this affects U.S. availability of the Kona Electric, but the company did not wish to provide a comment at this time.
According to InsideEVs, Hyundai sold just 1,723 Kona Electric models in the U.S. for the entire year of 2019. Based on an allocation decided more than two years ago, All of the plug-in and fully electric vehicles combined from Hyundai and Kia totaled less than 10,000 in U.S. sales last year.