Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand sets Tesla in its sights, plans upscale EVs

2017 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t premium review
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends
Hyundai has already taken on BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and now it’s Tesla’s turn. Hyundai Motor Group‘s bold plans for its luxury Genesis brand recently expanded beyond offering competition to luxury and sports sedan brands to luxury all-electric vehicles, specifically Tesla, Automotive News reports.

The path to greener vehicles won’t start with non-plug-in hybrids, said Genesis global brand head Manfred Fitzgerald at the Seoul Motor Show. Instead, Fitzgerald said Genesis will have a plug-hybrid in its 2019 lineup followed by an all-electric vehicle in 2021.

Genesis is populating its lineup quickly. After starting with the flagship G90 luxury sedan Genesis added the one-step-down G80. Later this year, in September, Genesis will launch the G70 sport sedan, set to compete with BMW’s 3-series but at a more affordable price.

Fitzgerald said three more models including a coupe and two crossovers are on the way. With six models in the Genesis lineup, the initial vehicle spread will be established.

The 2019 plug-in hybrid will first be a variant of one of an existing models or nameplates — meaning one of the original six. After that, however, the plans are for plug-in models throughout.

“We’re going to try to bring to our entire lineup electrification,” Fitzgerald said. “So, you’ll take this step by step — a transition technology will be plug-in before you arrive at a full EV.”

Genesis isn’t interested in starting with standard hybrids because plug-ins have longer ranges on battery power than non-plug-in hybrids. The price bump for plug-in hybrids over standard hybrids is also less of a concern with a premium line.

When the full EV launches, however, it won’t be a current model powertrain variant. The flagship Genesis EV will launch as a new nameplate ready to go head-to-head with Tesla’s top model. The EV will be built on one of two new architectures under consideration, one for small and medium size vehicles and the other for large vehicles. The subsequent overall plan is for a new full EV every three years.

While Fitzgerald did not specify the body style of the first Genesis EV, given the company’s aspirations you could probably take a clue based on whatever style Tesla touts for its flagship 2021 model. It doesn’t make any sense to plan on bringing your best knife to a gun fight.

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