Hyundai Shuts Down All Internal Combustion Engine Development

By Sevan Shahijanian | December 28th, 2021
2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

Enthusiasts, let’s face it: it’s apparent the industry is shifting to electric vehicles (it’s all we’ve been writing about recently). An increasing number of automakers, like Toyota and Porsche, are laying out multi-year plans to smoothly transition to electric technologies. On the other hand, we have Hyundai Group; which just halted all R&D on new internal combustion engines and has converted all associated development centers into ones focused on electrification. Hyundai Group also owns a controlling stake in Kia, signifying a unified approach to EV development from the two largest Korean automakers. 

Aerial View of Hyundai Namyang R&D Center

Making such a monumental shift doesn’t come without its fair share of hurdles – namely reorganizing over 12,000 employees at the Namyang R&D Center. From redirecting engineers to combining multiple departments into new cohesive units, Hyundai Group seriously doesn’t want to fall behind in the EV race. There’s even a new Battery Development Center where Hyundai will presumably put to use their new partnership with Factorial to develop solid state batteries. 

Although news of Hyundai’s EV transformation is aggressive in nature, they’re well positioned to take advantage of the rising EV climate (I’m almost sorry for this pun). Their IONIQ 5 has been widely acclaimed as a fantastic electric hatchback – soon to be followed by the IONIQ 6 sedan in 2022 and IONIQ 7 SUV in 2024.

Hyundai CEO, Jaehoon Chang, increased EV sales targets from one million EVs per year by 2025 to 1.7 million EVs per year by 2026 (an increase of 70%!). Chang says Hyundai’s dedicated EV platform, E-GMP, which currently underpins the IONIQ line, won’t be enough for their new goal. To achieve the higher sales targets, Hyundai is investing $7.4 billion in the US by 2025 to build EVs here in the states. In addition to the IONIQ lineup, a new platform will also bring forth eight more EVs – totaling 13 EVs by 2026 under the Hyundai brand alone. 

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2022 Hyundai Veloster N on the race track

News of Hyundai’s EV revolution follows last week’s announcement of Albert Biermann’s retirement. Biermann served as Hyundai’s R&D chief and played a pivotal role in transforming the brand from stale bread into a freshly buttered slice of morning toast (I’ll admit, I am a bit hungry). His most notable contribution was Hyundai’s N performance sub-brand, which birthed the celebrated Veloster N hot hatch.

Though we don’t see the N division coming to an end anytime soon, Biermann’s retirement paired with an electric-only future will surely be a blow to Hyundai enthusiasts. Not all is doom and gloom though! Since Biermann will be staying on board as Executive Technical Advisor, we think it’s safe to assume the N division will live on to pump out electric performance cars in the future. However, if you’ve been itching for a snap-crackle-pop Veloster N, may we suggest you pick one up soon… y’know, with Hyundai quitting ICE development and all.