Hyundai was one of those automakers entrenched in fuel cell hydrogen technology in its effort to develop zero-emission cars, which is why the IONIQ is so important. It’s the Korean automaker’s opportunity to test the market and sees if it should divest from fuel cells and invest in electric powertrains.
The problem is that Hyundai fell behind in EV development and it is now releasing a model equivalent to the last generation of EVs (LEAF, i3, e-Golf etc.) in term of range. But it could still find a market in Europe and in its home country, South Korea, for the next year.
The vehicle has been on the road in South Korea since the beginning of the year, but now it’s starting to be delivered in Europe and the company says that North America will follow.
Hyunday claims a NEDC-rated range of 174 miles, but the real world range is closer to ~110 miles on a single charge. It makes the vehicle competitive with the likes of the Nissan LEAF and the BMW i3. Starting at £28,995 ($37,900 USD) in the UK, it is also competitive in term of pricing with those models.
Where the IONIQ has a significant advantage, though it’s of course a matter of opinion, it’s with the design. Nissan and BMW went out of their ways to make their EVs look different from their other vehicles, while Hyundai’s IONIQ looks just like another decent-looking Hyundai.
Of course, with that kind of range and pricing, it makes it hard to choose this over a Chevy Bolt EV, but you have to remember that the Bolt is not in Europe yet and it shouldn’t be for another 6 to 9 months. And as we previosuly discussed, it could be difficult to get your hands on one even in the US unless you live in a state with a ZEV mandate.
Therefore, the IONIQ could find a market between the LEAF, i3 and e-Golf before the Chevy Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 start to reach every market in volumes, and let’s hope so since it would encourage the Korean automaker to invest more in EVs. The company is reportedly already considering a longer range version of the car.
Since it is currently introducing the car in the UK, Hyundai supplied a few demo units to journalists and Fully Charged took one for a drive: