While many carmakers have made verbal commitments to transition towards full electric, Hyundai might have just taken a giant, tangible leap forward towards electrification by ending its development efforts on internal combustion engines.
Or at least, that is according to Business Korea and The Korea Economic Daily, who both reported the closure of Hyundai Motor Group’s engine development department at the company’s Namyang Research Institute.
Unnamed industry sources have told The Korea Economic Daily that Hyundai’s new R&D chief Chung-Kook Park allegedly sent an email to its employees, stating: “Our own engine development is a great achievement, but we must change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset from the past.”
Business Korea adds that the carmaker’s powertrain group was subsequently reorganised into an electrification development team post shut-down, and that a battery development centre was also established in order to focus on “securing battery technology”.
The company also reportedly consolidated several of its R&D departments to further expedite its EV development schedules, including the merging of Project Management and Integrated Product Development teams for each vehicle level to oversee all aspects ranging from design to mass production, Business Korea wrote.
Hyundai has not provided any official communications yet regarding the alleged shutdown, but it does coincide with a major upper-level management reshuffle within the Korean company.
Albert Biermann recently announced his retirement as the company’s R&D head, and now assumes the role of technical advisor for the Hyundai Motor Group. Meanwhile, design head Peter Schreyer is also moving to a new advisory role – both vacated positions now filled by South Korean executives Chung-Kook Park and SangYup Lee respectively.