Hyundai Kia to Invest $4.4 Billion in Electrified Vehicle Development

By · January 04, 2012

Electric Kia Ray

Hyundai-Kia will invest up to $4.4 billion in 2012 to research and develop electrified vehicles.

Hyundai Motor Group, the maker of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, announced it will invest $15.5 billion in 2012 to upgrade facilities and to research and develop futuristic vehicles. A significant portion of Hyundai Motors' investment will be set aside for the development of hybrid and plug-in vehicles.

According to Hyundai Motor, $ 4.4 billion will be used for research and development, as the company makes the development of "eco-friendly cars" the core of its investment strategy. Perhaps most fascinating is the unique use of the company's two brands for different technologies. According to AsiaOne Business, the Hyundai brand will focus on plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, while Kia will concentrate on "electric drive vehicles which use electric motors or traction motors for propulsion," which could mean pure electric-drive automobiles.

Except for displays of plug-in concept cars at auto shows, Hyundai has remained on the sidelines of the emerging electric car market. At last year's Detroit auto show—now a year ago—Mike O'Brien, Hyundai's US-based product planner, told PluginCars.com that the company's hybrids were developed with future plug-in capability in mind. "We have a lot of active R&D work going on in plug-ins, the question is value in terms of timing of release," said O'Brien. "We want our product to be worthy on its own merit independent of incentives."

So, R&D investment might be growing, but it could be a long wait for Hyundai to introduce a real-world plug-in vehicle that can be purchased.

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