Hyundai is looking to entice Uber drivers to its Ioniq electric vehicle (EV) in an effort to take over Toyota’s hold on the ride-sharing service.
The Toyota Prius is already hugely popular with Uber drivers, largely thanks to Toyota’s aforementioned investment in the app-based ride service.
Speaking to Autocar, Ki Sang Lee, Hyundai eco-car boss, said that the company has been looking into providing an incentives scheme, although European legislation has lengthened the process.
“We have certainly been looking into it,” he said. “The trouble is that Europe is such a complicated mix of different legislations, so it takes time to assess each and come up with a plan. Even so, we have definitely been looking into Uber and whether we can offer some sort of incentive.”
An example of these roadblock legislations include one by Transport for London (TfL), which is reportedly pursuing legislation to limit Uber’s growth in favour of London taxis.
Lee said that one advantage of the Ioniq as opposed to the Prius is the option of a full-electric powertrain - currently Toyota doesn’t offer a pure-electric version of the Prius in the UK.
“We think that by offering something slightly different we could benefit,” he said.
“For instance, using our pure-EV Ioniq in cities as taxis instead of the HEV (hybrid-electric).”
“We’d like to say we could provide all the finance ourselves, but it is of course too expensive. However, if cities were to, say, go in 50/50 with us to provide better fast charging (the Ioniq EV claims to charge to 80 per cent in 23 mins), then it could work,” Lee added.
In Australia, Hyundai is looking to introduce the Ioniq sometime in 2017.
Previously, the petrol-electric hybrid was originally pencilled in for a Q3 launch this year, but a shift in schedule for the Ioniq’s three variants - petrol-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and full-electric (EV) - caused the Korean car maker to push back the launch of the new model.
The delayed launch has allowed Hyundai’s local arm to shift its focus to the Ioniq PHEV, rather than the conventional hybrid as originally planned.
“In theory, launching a conventional hybrid would just make us a follower or an also ran, so early preferences are for the higher-tech PHEV - and a later launch,” said Bill Thomas, Hyundai Australia communications manager, in February.
“While Ioniq is a brand statement and not about volume, we need to be sure that the market finds our car appealing.”
Thomas said that the PHEV could launch locally in Q1 2017, with the full-electric version a possible starter later on.
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