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
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
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.
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