Hyundai stops engine development and relocates engineers to electric cars

Hyundai Namyang R & D center in 2003.
Enlarge / Hyundai Namyang R & D center in 2003.


Last year was challenging for many reasons, but 2021 was not quite bad. Despite the pandemic and chip shortage, it was a fantastic year for new electric battery vehicles. So much so that more than half of our top 10 drives of the year were BEVs. This is good for consumers looking for a new car – provided they can find one in stock.

Top 10 lists at the end of the year are extremely subjective and no one should read too much into them. But if you want evidence of the impending extinction of the internal combustion engine, consider this: On December 23, the Hyundai Motor Group (parent company of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis) closed its internal combustion engine research and development department, according to The Korea Economic Daily.

Park Chung-kook, the new head of Hyundai’s R&D efforts, explained in an email to employees of Hyundai Motor Group that “our own engine development is a great achievement, but we need to change the system to create future innovation based on it. great asset from past. “

Instead of developing new petrol or diesel engines, scientists and engineers will work on electric powertrains – an area in which Hyundai is already extremely competitive.

Earlier, Volvo announced that it would also complete its development of internal combustion engines, but the company appears to have its cake while still eating it. In 2021, it outsourced its entire engine operation – including future R&D and production – to a new joint venture with parent company Geely.

I’m not the only one who sees the writing on the wall. Bloomberg imagines a potential breakdown in the residual value of more expensive petrol cars and warns that “while there may still be a robust market for used Honda Accords by 2028, it is likely to be a more flimsy market for used petrol-powered sedans and sports for $ 40,000 “utility vehicles when people in that segment switch to electric cars.”

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