The Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia are planning some of the largest electric cars to hit the road in a decade.
South Korea’s two largest carmakers are teaming up with Mitsubishi to build a $39m (£30m) joint factory in Mexico.
Hyundai and Kia said on Sunday they will supply battery packs and electric motors to be used in Kia’s battery-powered showroom debut, which is set to arrive in the spring of 2020.
Kia will not start selling the electric vehicle (EV) before its Olympic cycle title defence in Rio de Janeiro in August 2020.
The next generation RIO EV will have a 300-mile (482km) range – about half that of Hyundai’s Ioniq, which has a range of around 500 miles (805km).
The RIO EV may have a second battery option that may extend its range up to 550 miles (887km).
Hyundai and Kia, the world’s fifth and sixth biggest automakers, have largely focused on small cars and SUVs, which have become popular in recent years with American and Chinese consumers, but could make a big leap to EVs as the cost of batteries continues to plummet.
Elaine De Haan, vice-president at vehicle logistics firm Matrix, said a new generation of Hyundai and Kia EVs would have to deliver a premium experience, be priced in the range of plug-in electric vehicles currently available in the United States and Europe, and be delivered for a fee rather than as a rental.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” De Haan said. “I think Hyundai and Kia will want to break away from what is basically a utility product from Hyundai and step into a premium segment, so they are also targeting one of the biggest buyers of compact EVs today.”
Electric cars aside, Kia is also planning a tie-up with US luxury brand Infiniti that will feature a new midsize “P-segment sedan” and a possible next-generation of the popular K9 model.