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Hyundai India plans to invest 4,000 cr to rev up EV biz

Hyundai’s Chennai factory, which can produce up to 750,000 vehicles a year, can support the production of petrol, diesel, and EV vehicles (Photo: Mint)Premium
Hyundai’s Chennai factory, which can produce up to 750,000 vehicles a year, can support the production of petrol, diesel, and EV vehicles (Photo: Mint)

Hyundai aims to introduce the first of the six vehicles next year, which is likely to be a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) model to capitalize on booming SUV demand in the domestic market, firms’ managing director and chief executive Seon Seob Kim said

Hyundai Motor India Ltd plans to invest about 4,000 crore as part of an ambitious plan to introduce half a dozen electric vehicles (EVs) in the country by 2028, said Seon Seob Kim, the company’s managing director and chief executive.

Hyundai aims to introduce the first of the six vehicles next year, which is likely to be a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) model to capitalize on booming SUV demand in the domestic market, Kim said.

India’s second-largest passenger vehicle maker is in discussions with South Korean and Chinese battery makers to encourage them to set up assembly units in the country, Kim said.

The company is also in talks with six private and state-run companies in India to boost vehicle charging infrastructure and alleviate a key concern among EV buyers, he said.

The fresh investments would be made for the research and development (R&D) of the new EV range.

The automaker aims to modify some of its existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle platforms to keep R&D costs under control and allow the company to target a wider section of Indian buyers with affordable EVs, Kim said.

He did not disclose the expected price range of the EVs.

“We are looking at SUV and CUV (compact utility vehicles) based on the current market demand," Kim said.

The plan is to eventually cover the “mass market" and “mass premium" segments of India’s EV market, he said.

As part of its manufacturing strategy, Hyundai will introduce its Electric Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, in India while modifying some of its existing ICE vehicle platforms for electric, Kim said.

The E-GMP platform is Hyundai’s electric-only dedicated platform and is used to develop car models such as the Ioniq.

“Right now, our focus is to localize the manufacturing of EVs and how to localize procurement of major EV components such as the battery," Kim said.

“We are trying to explore partnerships with local vendors. It is a totally new area. With our R&D, we are reviewing the capabilities and supporting them to create a mutually beneficial situation," he said.

Hyundai sells the Kona battery EV in India after importing it as a completely built unit.

India’s EV market is at a nascent stage, with a handful of companies such as Tata Motors Ltd and MG Motor India. However, the government wants to attract more automakers to build eco-friendly vehicles to reduce rampant pollution in its major cities.

Hyundai expects India’s EV market to grow to 175,000 units by 2028, a sharp increase from 12,000 vehicles this year, recording a compound annual growth rate of 53%. In addition, the number of public EV charging stations are expected to grow to 79,000 by 2025 from 2,900 this year.

Financial subsidies by the Indian government to private EV customers would help bring down the purchase cost of such vehicles and drive sales, Kim said. “In Korea, China, the government supports private customers through financial subsidies. That helps a lot to reach viable scale at the market," he said.

The company will tap its vast nationwide dealer network to sell the new EV range instead of setting up a dedicated network for EVs.

Hyundai’s Chennai factory, which can produce up to 750,000 vehicles a year, can support the production of petrol, diesel, and EV vehicles. However, Kim estimates that Hyundai may need to consider a capacity expansion after 2025 if vehicle sales remain robust.

The talks with lithium-ion battery makers are focused on creating a sustainable demand forecast or “quantity guarantee" for these companies to push them to start local manufacturing in India.

As part of its plan to expand charging infrastructure, Kim said Hyundai would focus on four core areas of home charging, public charging stations, charging facility at Hyundai dealerships, and round-the-clock roadside assistance to EV customers.

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