The recently unveiled Hyundai Ioniq is available in three forms, a standard hybrid (such as the new Toyota Prius), a plug-in hybrid that can drive roughly 44km on electric only range, and a full-electric that can do 177km on electric charge.
The Australian market is still relatively new to plug-in hybrids and Toyota has recently told CarAdvice that it doesn’t believe there is a business case for Plug-in hybrids, which the Japanese company today unveiled with the Prius Prime.
Nonetheless, Hyundai thinks otherwise with the company’s public relations manager, Guido Schenken, confirming that a plug-in was high on the agenda for Ioniq’s local launch.
“We’re looking to target two variants [of Ioniq] initially, the plug-in hybrid being the most appealing for us.” Schenken said.
Having a plug-in version of the Ioniq will help differentiate the car from its Japanese rival, even if the standard hybrid Ioniq on its own is more technologically advanced than the fourth-generation Prius, thanks to its lithium-ion batteries, over the outdated nickel-metal hydride unit used in the Prius.
Asked why Toyota doesn’t believe a plug-in is viable for Australia but Hyundai does, Schenken hinted that it’s a different case for the Ioniq, which needs to establish itself against well-known rivals.
“They have their own priorities and agendas as a business. For us the plug in hybrid makes an appealing case particularly for Australia given its 50km fully electric range, which is enough to cover most Australians’ daily commute. And you still have the longer combined range for interstate journeys.”
Nonetheless, there is still even a chance for a full-electric version of the Ioniq, though “nothing is a slam dunk at this stage.”
“But if we had to take one, we’d take the plug-in hybrid. We see that as being the most important. Plug-in hybrid has a dual personality, [it can be] used as a city-car and for interstate travel.”
The plug-in Ioniq will have a full tank range of around 700km, however it will be most useful for short commutes on pure electric power, which can be recharged 80 percent in just 24 minutes using a 100kW fast charger (or about 3-4 hours from a wall socket).
The Hyundai Ioniq was originally planned for this year, however it’s now scheduled for 2017, with an actual timeline still outstanding. Hyundai is yet to release potential pricing, however we believe that the South Korean brand is looking to price the plug-in hybrid at below $40,000, which would make it highly competitive with the standard hybrid Prius.
Hyundai plans to launch 22 eco-friendly vehicles on sale by 2020, 12 hybrids, six plug-in hybrids, two electric vehicles, two fuel cells, though not all of those will be available to our market.