Hyundai, Kia to put solar panels on vehicle roofs

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Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday that future Hyundai and Kia models will be equipped with solar panels capable of generating electricity as a way to increase fuel-efficiency and range and lower CO2 emissions.

Hyundai says the solar panels will feature in the rooftops or hoods of select vehicles “after 2019” and will supplement traditional internal combustion, hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. The parent group said it’s developing three different types of solar roof charging systems comprised of a solar panel, controller and battery.

The first generation will be a silicon solar panel system mounted to the rooftops of hybrid models and capable of charging 30 to 60 percent of the battery per day, depending on weather conditions and other factors, starting as early as 2020. The second generation involves a semi-transparent solar roof system applied to a panoramic sunroof and capable of charging an electric-vehicle battery or a battery mounted on a gasoline engine. Hyundai says the latter configuration will help it increase vehicle exports, since solar-equipped ICE vehicles will be able to adhere to regulations limiting CO2 emissions.

A third-generation system is being tested right now. It will add solar production capability in the hood and roof of EVs – but the companies don’t provide more detail than that at this moment.

“In the future, various types of electricity-generating technologies, including the solar charging system, will be connected to vehicles,” said Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of engineering design at Hyundai Motor Group. “This will enable them to develop from a passive device that consumes energy to a solution that actively generates energy. The paradigm of the vehicle owner will shift from that of a consumer to an energy prosumer.”

To date, solar vehicle charging technology has mostly been for light-duty tasks, like cooling off the interior or trickle-charging a conventional battery, such as the system offered in the previous Nissan Leaf. Systems that do more than this have typically come with a very steep pricetag for modest capabilities. Panasonic has developed a 180-watt solar roof available for the Japanese version of the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid that is capable of adding up to 3.7 miles of range per day – at an unspecified (as of this writing) but undoubtedly high cost. Elon Musk, unsurprisingly, has also discussed making a solar roof optional for the Tesla Model 3. Karma revived the Fisker Revero plug-in hybrid as its own nameplate, complete with a solar roof. And Audi has worked with a Chinese firm to develop solar cells into a sunroof for an upcoming EV.

Considering the modest output of solar panels small enough to fit on a vehicle’s roof, and the high cost, it’ll be interesting to see whether Hyundai and Kia can make a practical argument for this move, or if it’s just a marketing move. Then again, all the easy efficiency plays have already been made, and any tiny gain adds up.

[Source: Autoblog]

Hyundai and Kia will offer AI assistants in 2019 cars

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Hyundai and Kia both have reputations as early adopters of in-car tech, and that’s truer than ever now that voice assistants are becoming a practical reality on the road. The Korean automakers have revealed that they plan to include AI assistants in their new cars starting from 2019, with every vehicle being “connected” by 2025. As Hyundai explained, they’ve been working with SoundHound to create an Intelligent Personal Agent (based on Houndify) that both makes proactive suggestions (such as reminding you of a meeting) and offers remote control of both your car and your home.

This sounds a whole lot like what other voice assistants do, but the car brands are counting on support for “multiple-command recognition” as the ace up their sleeve. If you tell your car to check the weather and turn on the lights at the same time, it’ll do both instead of scratching its head like so many other AI helpers.

You won’t have to wait until 2019 to see the technology in action. Hyundai will unveil Intelligent Personal Agent at CES 2018, and it’ll test a “simplified” take on the Agent in hydrogen fuel cell cars slated to drive on South Korean roads throughout the year. It’s hard to say if IPA will have an advantage over companies borrowing “off-the-shelf” AI like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s more the ubiquity that will be important — you won’t have to buy a premium-priced model to treat your car like a smart home hub.

[Source: Autoblog]

The 2018 Hyundai Azera looks pretty classy

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With the reveal of the new Azera, Hyundai has made it clear that it has no plans to leave the large, upscale sedan market. This South Korean Avalon-fighter underwent a significant redesign inside and out and will first go on sale in Korea next month.

Outside, the Azera has a significantly different and more formal, profile. While the previous model was rakish and wedgy, the new model adopts an upright version of Hyundai’s new corporate grille, along with a long hood and more vertical windshield. The flanks also receive long, flowing character lines that give it a muscular appearance. At the back, the Azera gets a new version of the full width taillights that the model has had since the nameplate’s introduction two generations ago.

The Azera also changes radically inside. Instead of the downward flowing dash of the old model, the new interior features an instrument panel that emphasizes width, with a dark top portion and lighter lower section. Sandwiched between the two halves of the dash is a section that rises up at the center stack to house the large touch screen and an analog clock, which looks a bit out of place.

Hyundai has yet to reveal any stats, pricing or availability for the new Azera, except for its aforementioned launch date in South Korea, where it will carry the Grandeur name. However, we would imagine more details will be coming soon ahead of its US launch.

[Source: Autoblog]

Hyundai’s Genesis G90 caught totally uncovered

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It seems weird to type “Genesis” without “Hyundai” in front of it – unless we’re referring to the band, of course, which we aren’t. What we have here is the first car that’ll launch under Hyundai’s new premium brand, officially called Genesis. This is essentially the replacement for the Equus, and when it reaches the States, it’ll be called G90.

The G90 clearly makes strong use of Hyundai’s “Athletic Elegance” design language, and looks like a more premium version of the existing Genesis sedan. There’s a long hood, hexagonal grille, and vertically oriented taillamps that flow down the rear fascia. Judging by these low-res spy shots, we like what we see – even if, from some angles, it looks strangely familiar.

Genesis (the brand) launches next month in Hyundai’s home market. Following the G90, the Genesis sedan as we currently know it will move to G80 nomenclature, and a midsize, rear-wheel-drive sedan – G70 – will follow. A luxury SUV and sport coupe will round out the premium lineup.

Head over to Korean site Bobaedream.co.kr for a view of the G90’s rump, as well.

[Source: Autoblog]

Hyundai shows a mysterious coupe design in promo video

You never know where you’ll find some interesting automotive news. In this particular case, we found some curious Hyundai info buried in an otherwise normal Hyundai promo video. At about the 1:12 mark in the video, we see footage of a person working on a clay model of a car. It’s low, sleek, and looks like it would only have two doors. It appears to have a liftback as well, and fairly aggressive vents in the back. Nothing else in the video indicates what the car is, though. However, we’ve got some educated guesses.

One possibility is that this is a model for the successor to the recently departed Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The short deck and steeply raked rear window and pillars fall right in line with the styling of Hyundai’s old sports car, not to mention the bulging rear fenders. Genesis has also made it clear that they intend to have a coupe to replace the old Genesis on sale by 2020. The luxury brand also has a small rear-drive platform in development in the form of the G70 on which it could base the coupe, along with some reasonably potent engines. Last we heard, the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 was under consideration. However, an argument against this being a Genesis coupe is that it would be odd to show a Genesis model in a Hyundai video. The companies are clearly trying to put space between each other, so including a Genesis vehicle in this video seems out of step with the two brands’ goals.

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This brings us to the second possibility for this mystery coupe; that it must be a Hyundai of some sort. Hyundai has had very few coupe or coupe-like vehicles in its past. The Tiburon is long dead, thanks to the aforementioned Genesis Coupe, which will have a Genesis-branded successor. The Veloster is coupe-like and due for replacement, but recent spy photos show that it will look more like the current model and not the clay vehicle in the video. That leaves us with just one other coupe it could be: the Elantra coupe. It was killed off for the 2015 model year, but Hyundai might take another stab at it. If the company offered it exclusively with the turbocharged 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, it could attract a small enthusiast base, with the added advantage that, aside from the Civic Si, it would be the only sporty front-drive coupe on the market.

Of course, it could also be something entirely new that isn’t connected to any previous Hyundai or Genesis product. If that’s the case, it’s anyone’s guess as to what this mysterious coupe this clay mock-up represents.

Hyundai previews the subcompact Kona crossover’s funky fresh face

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It seems as though the already crowded subcompact crossover segment will welcome yet another competitor. Hyundai says it will launch its new Kona this summer, and it just released a teaser showing its front fascia. We’d previously seen spy photos of the car, but this is our clearest look at the nose yet. From the looks of it, it will be going down the funky styling route of the Toyota C-HR and Nissan Juke.

The first styling cue you’ll notice is the split headlight arrangement that we’ve seen before on the Jeep Cherokee and Nissan Juke. The top lamps are just LED running lights, and the lower units, also LED on the Kona, provide the actual forward illumination at night. Together, they create a scowling aggressive look. Between the lower lamps is a low and wide version of Hyundai’s corporate “cascading” grille. It does have a unique twist, though, in the upper slot that looks rather like a scoop. It also helps create a dual-plane look to the front of the vehicle.

Hyundai hasn’t released many details about the Kona aside from a release date and a size. It actually hasn’t even announced the markets in which the Kona will be available. However, it’s likely it will come to the US, since the subcompact crossover arena has been booming here. The only other information Hyundai has revealed about the Kona is that it will have good visibility and “agile driving dynamics.” That sounds good to us, but we can’t verify either until we get our hands on one. At least it won’t be a long wait.

 

Hyundai plans to catch up with other automakers, offer EVs

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South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co is developing its first dedicated architecture for electric vehicles, seeking to catch up with the likes of Tesla in the growing segment with multiple, long-range models.

While the platform will not be completed soon, Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia plan to roll out small electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs) based on an existing underpinning next year, said Lee Ki-sang, who leads Hyundai-Kia’s green cars operations.

Hyundai will launch an electric SUV, followed by a sibling model by Kia Motors next year, Lee said, citing strong demand for SUVs.

The subcompact or compact models would have a range of more than 300 km (186 miles) per charge, and would be “more competitive” than rival offerings, Lee said.

And Hyundai said in a statement on Thursday that it plans to launch a new luxury electric vehicle under its Genesis marque in 2021, after introducing a plug-in hybrid version of an unidentified Genesis model in 2019.

The separate platform represents a major push into the battery electric-car segment for a firm which has long trumpeted rival fuel-cell vehicles, reflecting strong investor pressure to compete more vigorously in a market that has been stimulated by U.S.-based Tesla’s longer-range models.

And tough fuel-economy and emissions regulations in the United States, Europe and China are compelling automakers to push fuel-efficient cars even though low oil prices have undercut demand.

Hyundai’s electric-car platform would allow the automaker to install a battery pack in vehicle floors to accommodate more battery capacity and maximize cabin space, Lee said.

“The electric-vehicle platform will require high up-front investments, but we are doing this to prepare for the future,” he said at Hyundai-Kia’s green car research center in the city of Yongin, outside Seoul. He did not reveal the cost.

Lee, a senior vice-president at Hyundai Motor, was speaking during an interview on the eve of an auto show that kicked off in Seoul on Thursday.

Analysts said Hyundai had no choice but to build separate electric-vehicle platforms to be relevant in the segment.

“The separate platform may incur losses initially, but Hyundai will be left behind the market if they don’t offer long-distance models, like 300 km, 500 km and 600 km,” said Ko Tae-bong, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities.

CAUTIOUS OUTLOOK

Hyundai Motor’s IONIQ hybrid sedan fell short of its sales target, while Kia’s Niro hybrid SUV exceeded its forecast last year.

Kia Motors was also working on its first fuel cell vehicle, following Hyundai Motor’s lead in the segment, Lee said.

Despite Hyundai’s beefed-up plans for the electric car market, Lee was cautious about the outlook given the planned phase-out of government subsidies in China and other markets.

Limited charging infrastructure and problems with battery technology, such as lengthy charge times on long-range vehicles, were also holding back demand, he said.

Lee expected electric vehicles to account for about 10 percent of total global vehicle sales by 2025, from some 1 percent now, with China leading the way. Fuel-cell cars, by comparison, were unlikely to take off until 2025 but had long-term potential.

In China, Hyundai Motor was considering sourcing batteries from Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) or a couple of other Chinese firms, because of subsidy restrictions on South Korean batteries, he said.

As part of efforts to meet Chinese electric car quotas, Hyundai and Kia planned to introduce electric versions of its China-exclusive sedans and SUVs, while readying electrified models under local brands made with Chinese joint venture partners, he said.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin

[Source: Autoblog]