Hyundai Motor Group is not a company to sit back and watch the parade go by, especially when the parade is led by Tesla, the electric vehicle juggernaut. In a strategic move to slow Tesla’s ascent in the Korean EV charging market, Hyundai is developing its own ultra-fast chargers with a power output of 350 kilowatts (kW).
Let’s put this in perspective. Tesla currently operates 106 Supercharger stations in Korea, while Hyundai has a mere 36. The Korean automaker is clearly playing catch-up, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Last year, Hyundai announced its foray into EV charger development and has been working diligently to get its chargers certified by the Korean government. Once approved, these chargers will be installed at Hyundai’s own EV charging stations across Korea.
Hyundai’s previous attempt to build high-speed EV charging stations under the E-pit brand hasn’t exactly been a roaring success. The company had ambitious plans to install 120 ultra-fast chargers by the end of 2021. However, the reality has been less than stellar, with only 36 E-pit stations currently in operation.
Why the slow progress? Well, it seems Hyundai’s desire to make E-pit a “premium” brand has been a double-edged sword. While aiming for luxury, the company inadvertently drove up construction costs, making it difficult to find suitable charger suppliers. The cost of building an E-pit charger is reportedly higher than the average €105,300 needed for a standard 350-kW charger. So, while Tesla’s been busy expanding its Supercharger network, Hyundai’s been stuck in the premium mud.
But don’t count Hyundai out just yet. The company is collaborating with other auto giants like BMW, General Motors, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz to set up at least 30,000 charging stations in the U.S. It’s a global chess match, and Hyundai is making its moves. For the sake of comparison though, according to Tesla, they own and operate the world’s most extensive global fast-charging network with over 45,000 Superchargers.