It Is the Start of a New Era in

Motorization and Hyundai Is

Ready for It

Ecological vehicle operation is slowly becoming a necessity as European regulations will only

allow the registration of emission-free vehicles by 2035. We spoke to Michal Knopik, head

of Sales Planning at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech, about Hyundai’s pioneering in

the development of Ecological Vehicles and the state of the Automotive Market in general.

Electromobility is currently the

number one topic in the Automotive

Industry. The Nošovice Hyundai plant

began producing vehicles with electric

drive systems in 2020. What are your

plans in this field for 2023 and for the

future in general?

In 2020, we produced our first electric

vehicle, the Hyundai KONA Electric.

Because of this we became Czechia’s

first car manufacturer to begin serial

production of a fully electric vehicle. We

later added the Tucson Hybrid and Tucson

Plug-in Hybrid to our lineup. The difference

between these two is that while the battery

of the Tucson Hybrid can only be charged

while driving, the Plug-in Hybrid’s battery

can also be connected to an external


We plan to introduce the second generation

of KONA Electric within the second half

of this year. It sports a modern design,

along with technological improvements

that meet new European legislative

requirements in regards to CO2 emissions.

All of our upcoming models will be geared

towards electric and autonomous mobility.

Since the beginning of this year, you

have begun supplying only electric

vehicles to Norway, while in Czechia,

they still remain somewhat niche. When

do you expect electric vehicles to catch

up with combustion powered ones in

terms of sales?

Norway is a very green country that

greatly cares for the environment. It has

made large investments into infrastructure

- allowing people to work, charge and

travel without many limitations.

The move towards electromobility is like

the start of a new era in motorization.

Similarly to when the first cars with

combustion engines were produced,

the market is first supported by enthusiasts.

Once people recognized the value of

the technology, that is when the market

exploded. Electrification is bound to follow

a similar path. Our infrastructure for electric

vehicles is currently lacking. However,

when it comes to the cars themselves, well,

those who experience driving an electric

vehicle do not want to go back.

The move towards

electromobility is like the start

of a new era in motorization.

Similarly to when the first

cars with combustion

engines were produced.

According to new European regulations,

which are currently being implemented,

all newly registered vehicles from 2035

onward will have to be emission-free.

Therefore, combustion engines only have

another 12 years. As of right now, our

infrastructure is essentially non-existent,

and even simply getting the permits to

begin its construction may take 2 years.

The implementation of all the necessary

construction processes and decreasing

the production costs of batteries may

take another 5 years still. Taking all of

this into consideration, I believe that we

are looking at another 5 to 7 years until

electric vehicles catch up to ones with

a combustion engine when it comes to


How does your electromobility concept

implement hydrogen power?

Hyundai is the first car manufacturer to

introduce a hydrogen powered vehicle to

the market and begin mass production of

fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

We began with our ix35 model, and

now introduced our second generation

in the NEXO line. Besides this model,

the only other mass produced hydrogen

powered vehicle is the Toyota Mirai.

Other manufacturers have yet to begin

serial production and are still in the

development phase.

Once again, before this fuel source

becomes widely used, the necessary

infrastructure needs to be built. Germany

and other western European countries are

already partially prepared for hydrogen

vehicles, however, it might take another

decade or so for the rest of Europe to

follow suit.

What specific steps are you taking to

compete with other car manufacturers?

Our main tactic for competing with other

car manufacturers is maintaining a diverse

catalog of high quality vehicles that feature

a modern design, advanced technology

and ever-increasing standards of work. We

offer our customers attractive benefits,

such as a five year warranty without a limit

to kilometers driven, which is a testament

to the trust we have in our products. In

studies conducted by JD Power, Hyundai

vehicles regularly rank amongst the most


Hyundai holds a very solid position in

the European market. According to

numbers of new registrations in 2022, we

are currently fourth in the EU. Globally,

Hyundai Motor Group is third, with a total

of 6.8 million vehicles, right behind VW

(second, with 8.2 million vehicles) and

Toyota (first, with 9.6 million vehicles). We

are also very happy to announce that the

Hyundai Tucson, produced in Nošovice,

was the best selling vehicle of the SUV-C

category in Europe last year, with around

150 000 sold.

Mr. Knopik, thank you for the interview. ǀ 67