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Hyundai keeping ICEs alive as EV infrastructure is not ready – report

The automotive society is currently divided into two general categories of enthusiasts – lovers and haters of electric vehicles. We are not here to judge or give conclusions but our observations are that there’s still life left in combustion-powered vehicles, though zero-emission machines seem to be the future. Hyundai, one of the leaders in the industry’s transformation toward electric energy, seems to be sharing a very similar opinion.

CarExpert had the chance to talk with Hyundai’s executive technical advisor Albert Biermann, who spoke to media representatives during a recent N Vision 74 and RN22e prototype drive. Biermann was asked about the future of the combustion engine within the South Korean automaker and his answer was rather surprising to us.

“We are continuing for next emission levels [for internal combustion engines]. We have no other choices. I mean, we are not giving up on combustion engines, right, we are global player. And there is no infrastructure available for EVs for quite some time in several regions,” Biermann told CarExpert.

This is a situation we’ve talked about many times – not every region in the world is prepared for the EV revolution and the adoption rate of electric vehicles varies vastly from country to country. If some states in the US and some countries in Europe and Asia are investing billions in EV infrastructure, there are other countries and entire regions which haven’t even started building charging stations.

Until the battery-powered cars become more affordable and usable, Hyundai will indeed continue to work on combustion engines. All new or significantly updated engines? Biermann is not ready to tell yet: “We keep going with combustion engines but will we set up a whole new combustion engine family? Yeah, I mean, you have to follow the emission regulations and that requires sometimes intense development. Euro 7, for example, is quite challenging. So that’s on the agenda.”

Alternative powertrains also seem like a possible solution. Hyundai has worked on different types of hybrids and electrified mills and one of its latest projects had a rather interesting powertrain. The Vision 74 (pictured above) has battery power with a hydrogen fuel cell, powering two electric motors at the back. With a peak power of 671 bhp (500 kilowatts) and 664 pound-feet (900 Newton-metres) of torque or more, this sounds like one very exciting alternative to fossil fuel cars.

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