Hyundai’s vision of the future begins with more-sustainable transportation
December 07, 2021 | By: Matt Miller, Sr. Copywriter
Angela Zepeda, Chief Marketing Officer for Hyundai Motor America, is thinking about the future. Not just about what’s ahead for the auto industry in 2022 or even the rest of the decade, but beyond. She’s thinking about 2045, the year by which Hyundai has committed to becoming carbon neutral, and the world that future generations will call home. She imagines a vision of the future where electric air vehicles transport people safely, efficiently, and cleanly throughout cities—something Hyundai is actually experimenting with.
“Wouldn’t it be great if you could go from LAX down to Orange County in a 20-minute timeframe in one of these air vehicles? That future is very real,” Zepeda says.
And this is all part of Hyundai’s goal of transforming human mobility, which begins with creating cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation and production. Zepeda says this is the vision of the Hyundai Motor Group.
“It really is the company’s vision for the progress of humanity and a new future for the way people will get from point A to point B,” Zepeda says. “It really comes down to standing behind how we’re going to get to carbon neutrality, a lot of it is in our manufacturing, and how we actually make that a cleaner and green process. And then, of course, the cars that we build.”
A Hyundai Home and electric Hyundai car providing clean solar energy for customers.
According to a recent study from Amazon Ads and Environics Research, 83% of American consumers agree that brands should do their part in helping the world. A majority of consumers (60% US / 71% Europe) are more likely to actively seek out brands with sustainable business practices.1
"Consumers in both the United States and Europe have high expectations of ethical behavior from companies – related to environmental impacts, social and societal contributions, and responsible business practices," said Susan Seto, Senior Vice President of Market Strategy at Environics Research.
– Susan Seto, Senior Vice President of Market Strategy at Environics Research[Consumers] are seeking brands that align with their values, expecting them to make a positive impact in society and take action on issues in their community.
Hyundai developed its first electric Sonata back in 1991, and since then has worked to be a leader in sustainable transportation. In 2022, Hyundai will offer nine electrified models in the US, which include hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric, and hydrogen power cells where water is the only emission.
In 2020, average carbon emissions of the company’s vehicles sold in the European market in 2020 fell by 30% compared to 2010, according to its 2021 sustainability report. Additionally, annual global sales of electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) surpassed 100,000 units for the first time. Beyond simply producing more fuel-efficient cars, Hyundai has outlined its commitment “to the sustainable use of resources and energy and to reductions in pollutants throughout all its manufacturing processes, from product development to production and sales to their final use and disposal,” according to the report.
“I think consumers look to companies, not maybe even necessarily government, to really solve the problem,” Zepeda says. “That’s because that’s where a lot of the creativity and innovation happens.”
Right now, Hyundai is also investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology like its NEXO SUV. As Zepeda explains, one challenge facing auto companies today is producing zero emissions vehicles for all types of mobility.
2022 NEXO SUV with hydrogen fuel cell technology.
“Unlike batteries, fuel cell technology can be scaled for passenger vehicles, as well as buses, ships, and trains,” Zepeda says. “That’s why hydrogen is so important.”
This type of innovation is necessary to help come up with new technology for a more-sustainable future, Zepeda explains. Hyundai’s sustainability report outlines investments in robotics (Hyundai Motor Group recently bought Boston Dynamics), smart factories, and a big data-based mobility ecosystem. In October of 2021, Hyundai expanded its digital showroom in Amazon’s store, where consumers are able to start their car shopping journeys from the comfort of their homes.
“We’re very open to what’s next,” Zepeda says. “The opportunities are endless.”
As Zepeda explains, Amazon Ads can provide powerful solutions for brands to connect with customers who are passionate about protecting the planet. “We definitely want to take that messaging and bring it to Amazon and connect with people,” Zepeda says.
In this moment, Zepeda says, it’s important for everyone to come together to help fight climate change.
– Angela Zepeda, Chief Marketing Officer for Hyundai Motor AmericaWe’re realizing that no one company is going to solve it on their own.
“It is a call to arms that we’re all doing all we can. We look to other companies with admiration, and we really want to adopt as much of those great ideas that make sense for us as a company and we hope other companies look to us and feel the same way,” Zepeda says.
1 Environics Research, Social Values Global Consumer Themes, USA/Europe, 2021