Hyundai Motor Co. this week launched its first electric vehicle for China — an electric version of the Elantra compact sedan — to improve its fleetwide fuel economy.
The electric Elantra is produced by Beijing Hyundai Motor Co., the Korean automaker’s joint venture with state-owned Chinese automaker BAIC Motor Group Co.
The car has a starting price of 199,800 yuan ($29,800) before subsidies.
Buyers can qualify for a 23,000 yuan incentive from Beijing Hyundai as well as government subsidies that vary among regions. In Beijing where the joint venture is headquartered, the electric Elantra also qualifies for 66,000 yuan in municipal subsidies.
The car, powered by lithium ion batteries, has a range of 270 kilometers (168 miles) and a maximum speed of 140 kph (87 mph). Its electric motors generate 285 Nm (210 pounds-feet) of torque and 81.4 kW of power.
Beijing Hyundai provides a 3-year/12,000-km warranty for the vehicle. It also offers a separate 8-year/15,000-km warranty for the EV’s battery pack and electric motors.
The rollout of Hyundai’s first Chinese EV comes at a time of slumping sales and intense anti-Korean sentiment. Chinese consumers have boycotted Korean products amid a diplomatic dispute over South Korea’s decision this year to install a U.S.-made missile defense system.
As a result, Beijing Hyundai’s deliveries slumped 42 percent year on year to 301,000 vehicles in the first six months, according to the China Passenger Vehicle Alliance, a Shanghai consultancy.
Yet the automaker has not backed away from long-term expansion plans.
In July, Hyundai opened its fourth Chinese assembly plant. The factory, in the southwest China municipality of Chongqing, has increased the automaker’s annual production capacity in China to 1.65 million vehicles from 1.35 million.
That expansion has added a sense of urgency to Hyundai’s efforts to comply with Beijing’s mandate to boost EV output.
Automakers must reduce their average fleet fuel consumption to 5 liters per 100 km (47 mpg) by 2020. That’s a steep improvement from 6.9 liters in 2015.
The government also plans to impose a quota system to goad automakers to ramp up EV production.