Hyundai Motors would no longer develop internal combustion engines

In a move that clearly marks the end of the road for internal combustion engines (ICE), South Korean automaker Hyundai has shut down its engine development division, the Korea Economic Daily (KED) reported, citing sources of the sector.

Even though we cover updates that point us towards an electric mode of transportation, there’s also the other side that doesn’t think battery-electric vehicles are our only options. Even as countries and car manufacturers gathered on the sidelines of COP26 to ban ICE vehicles by 2040.

Over the next few months, there has certainly been a change of heart and strategy at Hyundai Motors according to the recent announcement.

According to the KED report, the closure of the engine development division is a major milestone for the South Korean company which began developing its own engines in 1983. It took the company eight years to deploy its Alpha engine while its successors have enabled the company to become one of the five most preferred brands globally.

Namyang’s research and development (R&D) center focused on engine development employs around 12,000 engineers who have now received a change in their responsibilities. In an email to employees, the new head of R&D, Park Chung-kook called the development of their own engine a “great achievement” but called for “a change in the system to create future innovation” because it was “inevitable to convert to electrification,” KED reported .

Systemic changes include shifting focus from powertrain-focused teams towards electrification development, the engine design unit to an electrification design center as the powertrain development center transforms in an electrification test center. In terms of automotive engineering, an electric vehicle does not have a powertrain because engines do not generate energy from fuel. Instead, it has a transmission that provides the stored power to drive the wheels.

Park added that the reorganization was aimed at helping the company in the immediate task of innovating to develop vehicles that will dominate the future market. KED has indicated that electric vehicles are expected to dominate the automotive market by 2030 compared to the previously estimated deadline of 2040.

Hyundai will also focus on raw materials for batteries and semiconductors, as they also occupy an important place in the automotive supply chain, which became evident during the pandemic, KED reported.


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Kevin A. Perras