With pictures of the brand’s small SUV being tested in electric form, likely to be known as Kona EV, it’s apparent the South Korean brand is actively working on additional electric vehicles.
Speaking to CarAdvice this week, the brand’s public relations manager, Bill Thomas, said “chances are good” for additional EVs such as an electrified Kona - but for now the Australian operation awaits official word of its confirmation.
“The Chief Executive Officer of Hyundai Motor Europe, Thomas Schmid, was quoted by some media as saying an electric version of the Kona will be unveiled soon, but we aren’t in a position to discuss further information at this stage,” Thomas said.
“However, we can certainly see the potential for such a smart-looking and practical zero-emissions SUV, were we to sell it. We would expect the vehicle to be both powerful and possess a long range, and we can imagine it fitting urban customers’ lifestyles very well.”
The brand’s first series-production full-electric vehicle, the Ioniq EV, has already garnered a great deal of interest, not just for its performance credentials but also its expected price - which would suggest the potential for future EVs are likely to build on its success.
“We have already had quite strong interest in Ioniq EV from some government and fleet operators and we plan to introduce that vehicle to the Australian market mid next year. At that point we expect it to be one of – if not the – best-value EVs on the market. It is also a spacious and practical hatch, and very comfortable to drive.”
Thomas said Hyundai would love to see some further understanding from the federal and state governments around the importance of incentives to help boost the sale of electric vehicles.
“We have seen in overseas markets that government support plays a critical role in kick-starting the initial takeup of zero-emissions vehicles. There is very strong demand for our Ioniq EV in Europe, for example. Once EVs become financially appealing as well as environmentally friendly, demand surely increases," Thomas said.
“We think our Ioniq will be well-priced, and government incentives can only help the initial take-up of our car and other cars like it. It would be enough just for our Federal and State Governments to understand the way zero-emissions vehicle take-up has been incentivised in other markets, and also see the benefit of those vehicles to the environment and to customers.
Meanwhile, if and when the Kona EV makes its debut, Thomas believes there will be plenty of room in the market to run it alongside the Ioniq.
“Assuming there is a Kona EV in development… the two are probably complementary. Ioniq is a hatch, Kona is a small SUV and they would most likely to appeal to different buyers, with more fleet operators opting for the Ioniq, and more private buyers the Kona. A lot of it depends on pricing. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Electric vehicles for private buyers currently make up less than 0.02 percent of the market in Australia, however with more and more brands bringing additional options to the market, and with brands such as Hyundai aiming to bring the technology at an affordable cost, that figure will likely increase exponentially over the coming years.