This news comes from two sources, Korean Economic Daily and Chosun Biz web sites. The south Korean auto company Hyundai has confirmed that they have immediately stopped all development on new ICE engines in order to accelerate the transformation to EV manufacturing.
Effective December 23rd, Hyundai Motor Co. the group's largest automaker closed the engine development division at their R&D center. The 12,000 researchers have all been reassigned. Per the R&D chief Park Chung-kook stated to employees in an internal email: “Our own engine development is a great achievement, but we must change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset from the past.”
The move by the global auto industry to EVs is moving at a speed that has caught many legacy ICE suppliers off guard as Hyundai has stated starting in 2030, they will only sell EVs globally. The Motor Group started in 1983 by the grandfather of Hyundai Motor Group in order to make their own engines rather than buy from Japan or America. After 40 years, the engine development division is shut down so that the EV development division can be enhanced with additional researchers and grow at warp speed.
The bulk of the 12,000 researchers have been moved to various electrification teams leaving a skeleton group behind to modify and address needs of modifying existing engines for the next 8yrs.
A new battery development center has been created to be added to the EV development division. Park has stated that the goal is to develop innovative EVs that will dominate the global market from entry level auto's that Hyundai made its name on to luxury level auto's.
The R&D center will also now focus on procuring the raw materials for battery and semiconductor development as to NOT rely on semiconductors out of China or elsewhere in the world from 3rd party suppliers. This change will allow a streamlining of project management teams and product integration teams to accelerate EV development.
Only days after the ICE development ending, Chosun Biz published that Hyundai has put all Hydrogen development on hold. A few years back, Hyundai announced they were working on their 3rd generation of Hydrogen autos and fuel cells with a goal of launching a global auto for sale in 2025.
Fuel cells are the heart of Hydrogen powered auto's and yet after select testing in Korea and other global select markets of both Hydrogen passenger autos and commercial trucks. September, Hyundai unveiled its third-generation fuel cell auto the Hydrogen Nexo.
The Hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain system had been reduced by 30% in size and output plus durability had increased 3 times and they expected to reduce costs by 50% by 2025.
However due to technical challenges and a lack of market interest globally the further development has been suspended indefinitely and all researchers will be assigned to new tasks in the EV R&D division. The NEXO only sold 8,206 Hydrogen autos in South Korea in 2021 and even less globally.
As such, it seems the future of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis auto's will be EV.