Hyundai To Launch First Electric Vehicle in 2016

Mar 11, 2014 01:55 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Hyundai is going electric.

The South Korean automaker, which showcased a hydrogen car at this year's Washington Auto Show, has announced an electric vehicle for 2016, the reported.

Along with Honda and Toyota, the company has been working on hydrogen cars, but Hyundai seems to be striving to keep its bases covered when it comes to green technology. Automakers have generally decided on electric or hydrogen when building their zero- or lower-emission vehicles.

"There is no clear direction about which eco-friendly cars will win. We are dividing roles of Hyundai and Kia, with Hyundai launching fuel cell cars and Kia focusing on electric cars," Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang told reporters on Tuesday, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Competitors will be bringing plug-in vehicles to South Korea, including BMW's i3, Nissan's Leaf and Kia's Soul EV, all of which are expected to reach the country this year.

"But the time will come when Kia will introduce a fuel-cell car. Hyundai is also preparing to launch a (battery-powered) electric car in 2016," Lee said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Hyundai owns a 34 percent share in Kia, which announced Tuesday that the Soul EV compact will be built in Korea starting in April.

Thanks to generous government subsidies, the eco-friendly Soul EV will have a price reduced by about half of its $39,400 listing.

According to Cho Yong-won, vice president of Kia's Domestic Marketing Group, Kia and Hyundai plan this year to sell at least 5,000 of the Soul EV, their first plug-in export together.

The car, which will also head to Europe and the United States, has a 92-mile battery range per half-hour "fast charge."

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