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Hyundai i10 electric, Kia Picanto EV could be underpinned by new EV platform [Update]

According to a report on AutoNews.com, Hyundai will develop an EV-only platform for small cars, especially in the supermini class which consists of the Hyundai i10 and group’s Kia Picanto currently.

Kia Europe Chief Operating Officer Emilio Herrera reportedly told the publication in January that the company was developing a new small EV platform to provide a replacement for products similar to the Picanto. It is only natural that the platform in question will be shared among Hyundai Motor Group’s brands, and interestingly, Hyundai’s EV-only Ioniq sub-brand could be a beneficiary.

Hyundai electric car platform
The Ioniq 5’s E-GMP platform is expected to be scaled down to meet strict costs and electric supermini requirements. Image: Hyundai

This is common practice in the industry where the VW Group has been instrumental in its MQB platform (for developed markets) and MQB-A0 for (emerging markets). Fundamental changes would be made to the MEB platform to be used by the Seat ‘Urbano’ and the VW ID.2. Similar to this, a E-GMP low-spec could be what Herrera is referring to. However, expect to see the Hyundai i10 EV and Kia Picanto EV only on their next generation models when the price of the battery is far below today’s level.

Kia Picanto EV & Hyundai i10 Electric release date prediction

The Picanto received a mid-life facelift in 2020 in the South Korean market (where it is marketed as the Kia Morning) following its reveal in January 2017. It features a fresher design, new safety features, a bigger infotainment system and enhanced fuel efficiency. The lifecycle of the Picanto is 6-7 years, hence the Kia model would be the first to transition to the fourth generation in 2023.

The timeline for the fourth generation i10 is mid-2025, which is when a pure electric version is expected to touch down. Ashley Andrew, Hyundai Motor UK managing director, has told the media that 75% of the UK lineup has an electrified option at the moment, and it would go to 100% in 2025. He was referring to the impending electrification of Hyundai’s smaller cars which include the i10 and the i20 as this decade unfolds.

Come mid-decade, one can expect the fourth generation Hyundai i10 & i20 (and the Kia brand counterparts Kia Picanto & Kia Rio) to spawn battery-electric variants with a range of over 300 km/charge in the WLTP cycle at a price similar to the gasoline version. The Renault 5 is also expected to be a strong challenger, which is announced with a 400 km range, coming in early-2024.

2020 Hyundai i10 rear
The next-generation Hyundai i10 (and its sister car Kia Picanto) are expected to go full-electric when they release mid-decade with a range of 250-300 km/charge. Image: Hyundai

According to LMC Automotive (a market analyzer and forecaster in the auto industry), sales of electric minicars in Europe will jump to more than 50 per cent by 2026 which is currently hovering at the 15 per cent mark. At the same time, the research states that demand for minicars will halve to less than 500,000 from the 1.1 million (2019 sales figure) owing to higher cost of battery powered variants.

Hyundai Motor Group will introduce 44 electrified models by 2025, including 11 dedicated BEV models. From 24 electrified models in 2019, it will expand the lineup to include 13 hybrids, 6 plug-in hybrids, 23 battery electric and 2 fuel-cell electric vehicles.

Hyundai’s mini EV for emerging markets in 2023

A Suzuki Ignis rival called Hyundai Casper (codename: Hyundai AX1) will join the lineup in September 2021 in South Korea and soon in emerging markets. A Hyundai Casper-based EV will reportedly follow in 2023, targeting emerging markets primarily with optimised features, cost and size. However it is unlikely that Hyundai will launch the mini car in Europe, as the strategy for the region has been highly localized and adapted models.

Production of the ICE Casper in South Korea will begin on 15 September 2021, as per a report from jnilbo.com. The electric derivative (under the ‘Smart EV’ project) could debut as a near-production concept next year before showing up in the final avatar in 2023, powered by a 400V electrical drive module made by Borg Warner.