Hyundai has streamlined its R&D center by combining project management teams and product integration development teams to accelerate EV development
The global automotive industry is transitioning from the current IC engine model to battery-powered electric vehicles at a frantic pace. Many major auto brands have set a specific deadline by when they would switch the entire or percentage of their portfolio into EVs.
In a major boost to its electrification strategy, Hyundai has announced the closure of its engine development centre at its Namyang R&D Center in South Korea. This effectively means that the South Korean auto giant will not be developing any new internal combustion (IC) engine henceforth.
No new IC engines from Hyundai in future
According to a Korean media report, Hyundai shut down the engine development division at its research and development center on December 23, 2021. The Namyang R&D Center is home to the brains of about 12,000 researchers working for Hyundai. This development was revealed through an e-mail sent by R&D chief Park Chung-kook addressed to the employees which said that “it is inevitable to convert into electrification”.
Established in 1983 by Hyundai Group founder- late Chung Ju-Yung, the Korean automaker introduced its first indigenously developed IC engine in 1991. Called the Alpha engine, it was later followed by its successors such as the Beta, Theta and Nu engines which were showcased in subsequent years. After almost four decades of operations, the IC engine development division has been closed.
Modification of Engine Development Division
The powertrain division has been modified to the Electrification Development Team and will now focus on developing electric vehicle (EV) drivetrains. Previously, the EV development units were under the powertrain development units. Researchers at the engine design unit have moved to the electrification design center. However, a few will remain part of the engine division only to modify existing engines.
Under the electrification development team, the carmaker has also established a battery development center to secure advanced battery technology which is the most critical aspect of an EV. This centre consists of battery design, battery performance development and others.
Hyundai All-Electric by 2040
In addition, various subgroups like powertrain system development center and powertrain performance development center are transforming into EV-focussed entities such as electrification test center and electrification performance development center respectively. Shutting down development on internal combustion engines is important since Hyundai aims to go all-electric in all major markets by 2040.
Earlier in January this year, Hyundai had confirmed that it would stop developing any new diesel engine with immediate effect and would concentrate on petrol, hybrids, or fully-electric powertrains for the future. The Korean automaker intends to sell 17 lakh fully electric cars per annum across the world by 2026.