Hyundai takes on Tesla, plans electric luxury car

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The logo of Hyundai Motor Co. is seen on a car displayed at its showroom in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Hyundai announced new plans on Thursday to launch a long-range electric luxury car, as the automaker signaled a stronger focus on battery-powered vehicles.

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The South Korean company has been a major proponent of hydrogen. The Tucson SUV became the first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle when it launched back in 2014. Around the same time, Hyundai disclosed plans to build only two plug-in electric vehicles as part of its future lineup. Now Hyundai says it will make electric vehicles the center of its strategy, including a premium model that would take on Tesla (TSLA), Jaguar Land Rover and others.

Hyundai will launch a luxury electric vehicle under its Genesis brand in 2021, the company said. The Genesis model will offer a range of 310 miles on a single charge. Hyundai will also build a long-range Kona compact SUV in the first half of next year.

Hyundai said it will develop its first dedicated platform for electric vehicles, a move that will support multiple models with longer ranges.

In total, Hyundai and its subsidiary, Kia, will have 31 alternative-fuel models by 2020, eight of which will be pure electric. Only two hydrogen vehicles are in their plans.

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Hyundai began selling the IONIQ, its first pure electric car, in 2016. The IONIQ lineup, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric versions, travel shorter distances on electric power compared to the Tesla Model 3 and General Motors’ (GM) Chevrolet Bolt.

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The Bolt, which launch earlier this year, has an EPA-estimate range of 238 miles. Tesla’s Model 3 recently began rolling off assembly lines with a range of 220 miles.

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