What just happened? Just before the end of last year, Hyundai reportedly closed all internal combustion engine development and reassigned its engineers to electronic vehicles. Hyundai is the latest in a line of companies and even governments that have announced moves in support of EVs in the last year.
Industry sources told The Korea Economic Daily that Hyundai closed its combustion engine development and R&D centers. The South Korean company will no longer develop new gas-powered vehicles but will reserve a few engineers to modify existing ones.
Hyundai will move powertrain engineers to an electrification design center, while powertrain performance engineers will now work on EV enhancements. It also established a new battery division to develop better power cells, focusing on design, performance, and raw materials for batteries.
Last August, automated driving systems company Motional announced it would add a Hyundai EV robotaxi to the Lyft app by 2023. Hyundai also unveiled its goal of selling 1.7 million EVs worldwide by 2026.
This shift aligns with how other companies and governments want to move further towards EVs by the middle and end of this decade. In November, we reported that Xiaomi wishes to produce 300,000 EVs per year starting in 2024, and Volvo plans to move entirely to EVs by 2030. Meanwhile, New York wants to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2025. The UK also proposed phasing out gas-only cars by 2030.