Hyundai aims to be the biggest producer of electric cars in Europe this year after launching output of a battery-powered version of the Kona at its Czech Republic plant.
Hyundai will begin production of the Kona Electric in March at its factory in Nosovice 380 km (236 miles) east of Prague, the company said in a news release on Thursday.
Gasoline, gasoline-electric hybrid and diesel versions of the small SUV will continue to be imported into Europe from Korea.
The automaker will also increase supplies to Europe of the Kona Electric from its Ulsan plant in South Korea.
The moves will triple the availability of its Kona Electric for customers in Europe and drastically reduce delivery times, Hyundai said.
"Since going on sale in 2018, demand for the Kona Electric has surpassed expectations, and the increased capacity is intended to keep up with rising demand," Hyundai said.
Hyundai said this year it will provide more than 80,000 units of zero-emissions vehicles to European customers, including the Kona Electric, Ioniq Electric and the Nexo fuel cell car.
More than 60,000 of these vehicles could be the Kona Electric, Hyundai said.
"With this development, Hyundai expects to become the biggest provider of zero-emissions vehicles in Europe in 2020," the company said.
Hyundai most likely will procure batteries for the Kona Electric in Europe and an announcement is expected in the next weeks. Korean battery makers LG Chem and SK Innovation have plants in Europe -- in Poland and Hungary, respectively.
The Kona is Hyundai's second bestseller in Europe after the Tucson compact SUV. European sales of the Kona increased 61 percent to 107,409 last year, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers. Hyundai said the figure included more than 20,000 units of the Kona Electric.
The Nosovice plant builds the i30 compact car range and the Tucson. The factory has an output of 1,500 units a day, according to Hyundai. The automaker ended production of the ix20 small minivan at the plant last year.