How didi Hyundai Outperforms Legacy Automakers in EV Sales 2023 Without Tax Credits?


The year 2023 has come to an end, and with it, the release of sales data from automakers around the world. While many may claim that no one had a good year and no one wants to buy electric cars, the reality is quite different. Taking US sales figures as a focus, it’s clear that while Legacy automaker EV sales represented a lower proportion of their total vehicle sales volume in most markets than desired, there were still success stories.

BMW EV sales volume last year was nearly double what it was the year before, and other automakers, such as Ford and GM, also experienced significant growth in their EV sales output. However, one brand had a truly amazing year when it came to EV sales: Hyundai Motor Group. The group, responsible for Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis badged vehicles, secured the second-place spot for EV sales in the US for 2023, behind Tesla.

While Tesla’s US sales volumes were in an order of magnitude higher than those of Hyundai Motor Group, it’s worth examining how an automaker whose vehicles did not qualify for any US federal tax rebates managed to outpace two companies with vehicles in their portfolio that did qualify for tax rebates. Additionally, other non-domestic automakers whose US-made vehicles should have been a shoe-in for consumers looking for a good deal also fell behind Hyundai Motor Group.

So, why did this happen? There are a few simple reasons why Hyundai Motor Group’s EVs sold like hot cakes, and why other automakers are slowing down their transition to electric vehicles while Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis seem to be accelerating theirs. It all comes down to good design, good engineering, and some forward thinking.

One of the truly amazing things about the electric vehicle world today is the breadth of choice in the marketplace. Just 10 years ago, there were literally just a handful of different electric cars available, and now in North America, you can get everything from a full-size pickup truck to a small city hatchback. Other countries have even more options in each segment, and there’s an expectation that automakers who bring a new vehicle type or tech to market will have a head start on the competition.

Hyundai Motor Group’s first vehicles of its vehicle brands weren’t particularly quick to Market when it came to EVs. The first vehicle from the group to go all-electric was the Kia e Soul, a battery electric conversion of the already existing and highly popular Kia Soul. However, it was more expensive than the imminently affordable ice Kia Soul variants and wasn’t made or sold in huge numbers.

The next vehicles from the group, the Hyundai Ioniq EV, Kia Niro EV, and Hyundai Kona EV, were all launched on platforms designed by Hyundai Motor Group to accommodate a variety of different drivetrain options, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric. While each of those vehicles wasn’t exactly large in their range capabilities and weren’t exactly competitively priced, they showed serious improvements in EV capabilities and were pretty solidly built too.

In 2020, Hyundai Motor Group teased a brand new vehicle platform called the electric e-GMP (Global Modular Platform) or egmp for short. The platform was designed to underpin all of the group’s electric vehicles for the next few years and, unlike most other automakers, the platform was designed from the ground up to take advantage of not only different battery pack capabilities and drivetrains but also charging support for both 400 and 800-volt DC fast charging and an onboard two-way power inverter for vehicle-to-load capabilities.

The egmp platform offers a range of different drivetrain and battery pack options to cover everything from an economical Runabout to an out-and-out track monster. The platform was also designed to take advantage of 800-volt quick charging, which is becoming more practical and beneficial to egmp based Vehicles. Instead of spending 40 or 50 minutes charging at a fast charger, customers can fast charge a reasonable amount of range in 15 minutes.

While Hyundai Motor Group’s EVs have experienced some hiccups, such as initial availability issues and high battery replacement costs in certain markets, the overall positive response from consumers indicates that these challenges are being overcome.

Crucially, Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis have not solely marketed their electric vehicles as such. Instead, they seamlessly integrated them into their existing vehicle lineups, presenting EVs as a natural progression rather than a separate category. This approach, coupled with a reputation for exceptional warranty and after-sales service, has contributed to the brands’ rising popularity.

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