Japanese manufacturers Nissan, Honda, and Toyota either currently offer electric vehicles or soon will, so it’s only fitting that Korean rival Hyundai would get into the electric mix as well. The Korean brand was originally scheduled to begin producing electric vehicles in 2017, but due to competition, officials said South Korea will produce mid-size electric vehicles in 2014 in a state-funded project led by Hyundai Motor.
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said it has selected a consortium led by Hyundai that will receive approximately $64.6 million in state money. The plan is to create a car that can travel more than 124 miles on a single charge, which is 24 more miles than its likely main competitor, the Nissan Leaf.
It appears Hyundai is well on its way, as in September it debuted South Korea’s first electric car meant for public roads: the BlueOn, which is based on the foreign market i10 hatchback. This electric vehicle can travel up to 87 miles on a single charge, which is quite good for the Korean brand’s first battery-run car, but a far cry from where it hopes to be in 2014. Hyundai hopes to produce 2,500 BlueOns by the end of next year.
In an effort to cut the price of electric vehicles and improve their performance, the Hyundai consortium will be developing new batteries. Currently, the Hyundai Sonata hybrid uses one of the most advanced battery packs on the market. No word on whether the new battery for the all-electric will build off that technology, or use something entirely different.