Hyundai Australia (HMCA) wants the new Ioniq range to storm our fledgling electrified vehicle market, eventually comprising a portfolio of regular petrol hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and fully electric (EV) derivatives by early 2018.
First off the mark will be the ‘regular’ series hybrid that’ll launch in quarter-four this year, priced at about $35k, to rival the polarising new Toyota Prius and the relatively popular and more conventionally designed petrol-electric Corolla.
Rolling into the first half of 2018, Hyundai is confident the 50km electric-range PHEV and 280km electric-range EV versions will arrive here, given they’re both slated to be made available in right-hand drive within this timeframe.
The proposed three-way attack on the market would set the Korean brand apart, and give it an immediate strong foothold in Australia’s green vehicle space, which remains microscopic compared to most mature markets in Europe.
"We want all three, because we think we have a unique proposition in terms of setup, with three completely different experiences and drivetrains, in a conventional — in a positive, not a boring way — setup, not a science experiment," said HMCA chief operating officer Scott Grant this week.
"It gives us an opportunity to normalise [green cars].
"The hybrid car has been confirmed and the other two are still to be finalised, but my understanding is they will come…. they’ll be available in RHD to us next year."
By next year, HMCA is hoping for the arrival to be earlier in the year rather than later, and is working to a target price of around $45k for the PHEV and a shade under $50k for the EV.
As with all of its models, Hyundai Australia's local suspension tuning arm is giving the Ioniqs a thorough going-over to bolster the ride and handling.
Powering the hybrid Ioniq is a 77kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 147Nm of torque teamed with a 32kW electric motor that produces 170Nm of torque that's driven by a permanent magnet electric motor (the plug-in hybrid model uses a larger 45kW electric motor).
The motor is mated to a lithium-ion polymer 1.56kWh battery pack that sits beneath the interior floor pan in hybrid and an 8.9kWh battery pack for plug-in hybrid models.
When working in unison, the petrol and electric combination produces a combined 103.6kW of power and 265Nm of torque, consuming 3.4L/100km on the combined cycle for the hybrid and just 1.4L/100km for the plug-in hybrid.
Unlike the Prius, which uses a CVT transmission to handle torque delivery, the Ioniq hybrid uses an exclusive six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which handles both the electric and internal combustion torque movement.
Much like most hybrids, the vehicle can operate in an electric-only mode under light throttle applications that can be supplemented with torque from the petrol engine as required. There's also a Sport mode that offers more responsive driving and sharper throttle characteristics.
There is 50km of driving range in full EV mode for the PHEV, meanwhile, and over 1000km of range for both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid when driven together with the petrol engine.
The full-electric Ioniq on the other hand has a driving range of 280km and is powered by an electric motor that produces 88kW of power and 295Nm of torque. Under the floor pan of the full-electric Ioniq is a 28kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that offers both standard and quick charging.
Using standard charging the car can be fully charged in 4 hours and 25 minutes. The fast charger decreases charging time to just 30 minutes (using a 50kW charger) and 23 minutes (using a 100kW charger).
As we reported recently, green car sales continue to make barely a dent in Australia compared to other mature markets, though product cycles clearly represent a caveat.
According to industry figures obtained by CarAdvice, trackable sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or BEVs with a range-extender (REx) in Australia peaked at 294 units in 2015 before falling to 138 last year.
The same downward trend exists with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), sales of which have tumbled from about 940 in 2015 to about 560 last year. The YTD number for 2017 looks to be 155 units.
On the plus side, sales of conventional mild hybrids are actually doing okay, with 12,154 units selling last year. This was moderately higher that the numbers seen in 2013-15, but lower than 2012’s figure of 13,934 units.