Hyundai has reportedly closed its gas engine development unit to accelerate the transition to electric cars. Hyundai has just launched its first electric car, but it looks like it's ready to surpass internal combustion engines. As Electrek reports, Korea Economic Daily sources claim that Hyundai has shut down its intermediate research center's engine design unit sometime this month. Some workers will still remain to improve existing engines, but the rest will move to EV-related work.
It appears that the company is also converting buildings for EV development. The powertrain development center is becoming an electrification testing facility, and the performance development center is now devoted to electrical machinery. There is also a new battery development center and the researchers now supply raw battery and chip components.
According to the leak, the goal is simple. Hyundai wants to accelerate the transition to electric cars, which means dedicating much more of its energy to new technology. Electrification is "inevitable" and the transition will help produce cars that "will dominate the future market", new research chief Park Chung-kook reported in an email.
We asked Hyundai to comment. A change in priorities would at least make sense. Many countries and states plan to ban sales of internal combustion cars in the 2030s. For example, Hyundai's home in South Korea has a climate plan that will ban combustion-only sales by 2030 and all internal combustion vehicle sales by 2035. Hyundai is already phasing out diesels. It wouldn't make much sense to design new engines that would be on the market for a short time, and the company is likely to significantly expand its electric vehicle lineup long before any government cuts.