September 14, 2010 / 7:31 AM / 10 years ago

Hyundai eyes its second electric car in 2011

SEOUL, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor (005380.KS), South Korea’s top carmaker, said on Tuesday it would launch its second pure electric car next year based on a small sports utility vehicle made by its affiliate Kia Motors (000270.KS).

Last week Hyundai unveiled its first pure electric car, BlueOn, which is based on its i10 hatchback, which will be rolled out in Korea this year. [ID:nTOE68803Q]

“We plan to produce 2,000 electric vehicles based on Kia’s upcoming cross utility vehicles (CUVs), and 500 BlueOns by 2012,” Hong John-hee, director of Hyundai Motor’s Electric Vehicle Development Group, told reporters.

All of the 2,500 cars will be powered by SK Energy’s (096770.KS) batteries, he said.

Hyundai plans to sell those vehicles only to government organizations in Korea by 2012, a Hyundai spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Commercial sales of Hyundai’s electric vehicles will start in 2013, but which models will be sold in which markets has not been decided, the spokesperson said.

“There is a high possibility that the CUV model will be sold to the general customers starting in 2013,” the spokesperson said.

Hong said Kia plans to introduce a gasoline-based CUV in September 2011, and Hyundai plans to launch an electric-version of the model in December that year.

The CUV-based electric vehicle can run 130 kilometers on a single charge, Hong said. The BlueOn can travel 140 kilometers on one charge.

He also expected prices of electric car batteries would fall “faster than expected,” without elaborating.

Expensive electric car batteries have been cited as one of the biggest hurdles for the takeoff of the emerging market.

Seoul earlier announced its plan to replace 20 percent of the country’s passenger cars with electric vehicles by 2020 with a goal of leading the emerging market.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Ken Wills

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