These days, any manufacturer who is looking at being in business in coming decades has to be ready to sell models which have powertrains that generate low emissions or zero emissions. The end of the era of the internal combustion engine fuelled by petrol or diesel is coming and the focus is now turning to electrical power as the most viable alternative.

Hyundai Motor has already been preparing for the new era and with its IONIQ, it has cleverly developed a model which can be powered in three different ways. It can be a fully-electric (EV) powertrain, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), or a hybrid (HEV). For the Malaysian market, the HEV configuration – which still includes a small petrol engine – has been considered the most suitable.

This multi-platform approach makes good sense during the transitional period as the industry towards making electric vehicles mainstream products. More advanced markets like the USA and Japan already have a growing infrastructure to support electric vehicles but in developing and emerging markets like those in ASEAN, EVs are not marketable yet because the recharging infrastructure is still small. So HEVs, which don’t rely solely on electrical power are a better offering.

Hyundai Motor is now applying the same strategy to the new Kona subcompact SUV which has been progressively introduced in various countries since last year. Besides having petrol and diesel powertrains, there will also be a fully-electric variant available later this year.

From mid-2018, the Kona will be available not only with petrol and diesel engines but also an electric powertrain.

The Kona Electric, as it will be known, is expected to reinforce the Korean company’s leadership in the eco-car segment. Hyundai Motor will be the first automotive brand across Europe to make an all-electric subcompact SUV available to everyone following its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

In bringing this car to the market, Hyundai Motor is the first carmaker in Europe to merge two hottest industry trends –  eco-mobility and subcompact SUV design.

More information will be released at the end of this month but for now, what is known is that there will be two different powertrain versions. These will offer customers one of the most powerful electric powertrains on the market with a class-leading range of almost 470 kms (internal target) per full charge. Furthermore, drivers will benefit from a wide range of convenience and connectivity features as well as active safety and driving assistance technologies.

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[Chips Yap]

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