Hyundai was the first mainstream manufacturer to launch an electric vehicle in India with the Kona Electric back in 2019. However, like with most EVs in the market currently, the Kona electric is positioned at the premium end of the market. Speaking on the sidelines of the Hyundai Alcazar prototype media drive event, we caught up with Mr. Tarun Garg, Director of Sales, Service and Marketing, Hyundai India. When asked about Hyundai's future plans about EVs for India, Mr. Garg did reveal that the company is working on a mass market, more affordable electric vehicle for India that could debut in the next three year's time i.e. by 2024.
Reports about Hyundai's mass market EV for India first emerged back in 2020. Unlike the Kona Electric, which is an electrified version of an existing SUV that is also offered with internal combustion engines, Hyundai's upcoming mass-market EV will be built from the ground-up on a dedicated EV platform. In fact, it will be a made-for-India and made-in-India product, which could even be exported to other markets where it fits the requirements. As per reports, Hyundai will be aiming for up to 90% localization for the new EV in order to make it affordable.
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With that in mind, the company could even be looking at battery-manufacturing plant in India when it actually introduces the mass market EV in our country. Keeping up with recent trends, the upcoming EV will most likely be designed as an SUV. Being positioned below the Kona Electric (which has a claimed range of 452 km), you can expect the upcoming all-electric SUV to have a driving range of about 300km. Being a mass marker offering, the focus will certainly be on its real-world driving range.
While this new platform will be designed primarily for electrification, Hyundai could be keeping it flexible to allow putting in a conventional fossil-fuel or hybrid powertrain as well. There are not much technical details about it's specific power output from the electric motor or the size of the battery pack at this moment. However, being a Hyundai product, even if it is mass market, you can expect it to be bundled with premium features like other SUVs in its lineup. That said, for the upcoming EV to be a mass market offering, nothing will be more important than it's pricing.
Currently, the Hyundai Kona Electric, which comes to India as a CKD product, is priced from INR 23.75 lakh (ex-showroom). At this price point, it only finds a handful of environmentally conscious people as it's buyers. For its mass market offering, Hyundai could be looking to position the upcoming EV against the Tata Nexon EV. Priced from INR 14.00 lakh (ex-showroom), the Nexon EV is the highest selling EV in the country. Hyundai could also be looking at an INR 14-15 lakh price range for its mass market EV. More importantly, the government will have to focus on developing a robust charging infrastructure and a healthy EV ecosystem for manufacturers to step up their EV game.