Speaker Interview - John Juriga, Hyundai America Technical Center

John JurigaThe powertrain mechanism is at the heart of each electric vehicle, and creating an efficient, economical system is key to advancing technical development in H/EVs and improving sales. Here, John Juriga, director of powertrain at Hyundai, shares his thoughts on the eco-vehicle movement, which is gathering momentum in North America.

Tell us about your role and responsibilities – what do you see as your core focus for the immediate and long term future?

I manage the powertrain engineering activities for Hyundai and Kia in the United States. My organization is responsible for several functions, including the validation of all new powertrains entering the US market and new technology developments for powertrains in the US. We’re also responsible for production calibration for driveability, emissions, diagnostics and shift quality of some US vehicle applications; compliance and certification testing for some vehicle US applications, as well as quality support; and eco vehicle (HEV/PHEV/EV and FCEV) development for the US market, which primarily concerns tuning for North American customers and US manufacturing localization support.


What are the biggest challenges/opportunities you face as a business and as a sector?

With the low cost of gasoline in the US, eco-vehicle technologies are sometimes a difficult sell to the US market. We need to make great-looking and fun-to-drive vehicles that have terrific feature functions, which also happen to be very eco-friendly.


To what extent will international regulation determine the future of the industry?

As a global company, we must look at technology that can be applicable to many market regions of the world. Some technologies can be US-focused or European-focused, but if they have broad appeal globally they stand a much better chance for implementation since this can keep volumes up and costs down. Also, safety systems and common infrastructure systems and regulations will benefit the consumer and the suppliers/OEMs. For autonomous driving, common and unified standards should drive the new technology.


Do you think there is long-term commercial viability for 48V hybrid technologies?

Yes, maybe more so in Europe than the US, but with greater electrification of components and systems (which will happen more and more) 48V systems make more sense.


How do you see the future development of the plug-in and the evolution of fast-charging infrastructure?

Plug-in tech will reduce in cost (especially with battery costs dropping), while fast-charging will be a must and should become the norm for EVs in five to seven years.


What are the latest EV and hybrid market trends at Hyundai Motor Group?

We have just launched a new family of HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs with our Hyundai Ioniq and the Kia Niro. This is a dedicated platform that is among the most fuel efficient in the world and we fully expect that there will be more such platforms in the future.


What are the latest innovations driving fuel efficiency and performance?

Fast-charging systems, increased electrification of engine and trans systems and reduced battery cost with increased energy density all combined will change the industry forever.


What are the implications of intelligent mobility and autonomous vehicles for the hybrid and EV supply chain?

This technology is rapidly progressing, and the key will be in the safety and business side of things. We have already seen long-haul truckers making use of this (to reduce system [driver] costs) and of course in the area of urban transportation (taxi operations). This can be a very effective from a business perspective. Infrastructure is key in the highways and urban areas to support a safe V2X network. Suppliers should focus on leading infrastructure needs to allow this transition to happen more quickly.

See John Juriga talk at the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Conference at 11:25am on Tuesday September 12 on the 'EV and Hybrid Market Future Trends at Hyundai Motor Group' panel. 

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