Ssangyong's first electric model will be a ‘proper 4x4’ that's ‘off-road capable’ when it arrives in 2020, according to the brand's UK boss, Nick Laird.
Arriving as part of the next-generation Korando SUV family, which will first launch in the UK in 2019 with conventional petrol and diesel versions, the electric variant will take inspiration from the e-SIV concept shown at the 2018 Geneva motor show.
Laird told Autocar that the EV will be ‘a huge step forward, even over the current model’. He said: "It sticks to the company’s roots and DNA of trying to be a proper SUV and crossover brand".
The e-SIV concept boasted an electric range of up to 450km courtesy of a 61.5kWh battery pack driving a 190hp electric motor. Another brand spokesman revealed that Ssangyong has been developing its electric technology with prototype EVs based on the Korando and Tivoli in South Korea.
Laird also said the manufacturer was exploring diesel-electric powertrains as an alternative to petrol-electric hybrids.
“I’m interested to see how diesel hybrid plays out,” he said. “I think there's a place for diesel hybrid; many of our vehicles are used for towing, and for that you need to have good torque. Diesel works very well for that kind of application, as do electric and hybrid.
“So, there’s an obvious fit for me for that to work well together. It will really depend upon the medium-term trajectory of what people think about diesel in the market. If it recovers a little from where it is today, I could well see it being a technology that’s really effective in achieving both economy and emissions. I do hope that the diesel market recovers; I think it deserves to.”
While Laird confirmed the technology as being ‘under development’, he had no comment on when, or even if, it would eventually be rolled out.
He also said that two new Ssangyong models - one based on the Tivoli’s platform and another on the Rexton’s - would be launched in the near future, although he did not hint at a timeframe for this.