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Hyundai introduces IONIQ: compact car with BEV, PHEV or HEV powertrains

Hyundai Motor announced the name of its advanced, alternative-fuel compact vehicle due for launch in 2016: the Hyundai IONIQ. The car will be available with battery-electric electric (BEV), plug-in gasoline/electric hybrid (PHEV), or gasoline/electric hybrid (HEV) powertrains—the first car from any manufacturer to offer customers these three powertrain options in a single body type.

Based on an exclusive new platform, made specifically for the car’s multi-powertrain options, the IONIQ chassis is optimized to deliver responsive handling while remaining efficient in each of its three powertrain configurations.

93134hyu_IONIQ image

Following its world premiere in Korea in January, the IONIQ is due to be shown at the Geneva International Motor Show, followed by the New York Auto Show, both in March 2016.

The new car’s name references elements of its creation. An ion is an electrically-charged atom, linking to the car’s clever combination of electrified powertrains. The second part of the name references the unique offering it brings to the Hyundai range, demonstrating the brand’s environmental commitment and willingness to maximize choice for its customers. Finally, the Q is depicted in the car’s logo as a visual breakthrough, acknowledging the fresh new approach of this advanced, low-emission model.

Hyundai Motor has a heritage of building innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles, so we are proud to advance our eco-friendly car line-up with the introduction of IONIQ. Our vision for future mobility focuses on choice, with a variety of powertrain options to suit customers’ varied lifestyles, without compromising on design or driving enjoyment. IONIQ embodies Hyundai Motor’s vision to shift the automotive paradigm and future mobility; IONIQ is the fruit of our efforts to become the leader in the global green car market.

—Woong-Chul Yang, Head of Hyundai Motor R&D Center

Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2014, sold 4.96 million vehicles globally.



Nice looking silhouette. I'm impressed that Hyundai will be offering all three powertrain options in a single model. Assuming AER, pricing and availability are fairly proportioned, and the merits of plug-ins well presented, it will be an interesting experiment on the popularity of all-electric drive.

Bravo Hyundai. I'll take two.


A big hand to Hyundai for the introduction of a flexible tri-platform to give buyers more options at an affordable price.

This could force others to innovate.

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I like that Hyundai skipped making the pure gasser version or even worse a pure dirty diesel version. We really should have laws prohibiting the sale of such cars. Make full hybrid drive the new minimum standard for the most polluting vehicles that are allowed to be sold.


ICE and electric drivetrains are so different that any BEV built on a platform designed to accommodate an ICE drivetrain will be seriously compromised.


It will be a direct comparison, assuming the prices are in line with costs, we will see which sells better. I believe the HEV will sell more, then the PHEV, then the EV.


The price difference will depend a lot on the price of future batteries. South Korea can produce a lot of lower cost high quality battery packs.

Dr. Strange Love

It is a silhouette of the Elantra. The base model will always be the gasser. Hyundai will always sell gassers. Their customer base cannot afford anything else.

EE Econ 101.

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The lowest cost full hybrid is the Prius c that cost 20,000 USD. A comparable gasser is 15,000 USD. Over 12 years people will save most of those 5000 USD in less gas consumption and less maintenance for brakes and other stuff that last longer in a full hybrid. The society will benefit from less pollution and less dependence on oil imports from countries that basically hate the West and would kill us all if they could. To trade with them in the first please was insane. It is a huge security blunder by the West that urgently needs to be corrected.

It is time to ban pure gassers and pure diesels. We don't need them and they are a liability for national health and security. The old auto-industry will scream and protest as always when they are asked to do anything that means they need to change a few things at the factory floor but it should nevertheless be done.

Dr. Strange Love

Henrik. Energy recovery LDVs like the Prius will appeal to the instincts of the commoner some day. Every LDV will have energy recovery then. The commoner will not know that energy recovery is implemented. The few energy recovery LDV choices available today do not appeal to the instincts of the commoner.


Henrik is on the right track again.

An accelerated step by step approach, HEVs to PHEVs to BEVs an FCEVs, plus the promotion of improved batteries (for EVs and REs) could solve most of the pollution problems from ICEVs and fossil fuel power plants and free us from imported Oil and Oil from tar sands.

As far as 'commoners' are concerned, Dr. SL may not be on the right track but that's his right to say what he believes in.

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People need cars to drive around. If pure gassers and diesels are no longer for sale because the manufactures will be fined 5000 to 10000 USD for non-compliance per car they sell in non-compliance you bet full hybrids will be just as popular as pure gassers and pure diesels. The reason that practically no one buys full hybrids today is that they cost from 5000 to 10000 USD more than the comparable pure gassers and diesels. It is not because the hybrid cars are any worse. However, pure gassers and diesel are very harmful to public health and national security comparable to full hybrids that get 30 to 40% better mpg. So they should be banned just like the inefficient light bulb was banned.


I think we should have incentives for HEVs in the U.S. They get better mileage, produce less pollution, use less imported oil and are an efficient use of batteries. Fifteen years after the introduction of the Prius in the U.S. we are at a few percent. We need to do better.


Local incentives in our area are based on battery pack size and limited to a token $500 for Toyotas HEVs or equivalent. However, my wife gets between 52 to 56 miles per gallon US from her new Prius. My Camry HEV does an average of about 36 to 40 mpg. The combination of both HEVs can do about 45 to 47 mpg. That is much better than the ICEVs we had before.

PHEVs and BEVs, with over 25 kWh battery packs can get up to $8,000 local incentives + a one time 50% or $1000 (Max) charger purchase and installation bonus.

There are no Federal incentives or election promises yet. We live in an Oil over-producing country.


The U.S. has been talking about "energy independence" since Nixon in 1973, 40 years later we import more oil than ever. If we are really serious about reducing oil imports, hybrids should at least get $1000 federal and $500 state assistance.


If we are really serious about reducing oil imports, all cars will come with a plug and 50 miles all-electric range. And a continuation of solar credit and workplace charging incentives.

Fortunately, CARB/section 177 zero emission vehicle mandates start ratcheting up in 2018, so at least part of this is a fait accompli.

Serious agitation could help accomplish the rest.


I advocate measures that might actually be used by the people and government of the U.S. on a large scale. If we are going to make a difference it must be done on a large scale. Liquid fuel is one example, we make it, we deliver it, we use it. It provides a quick fill and long range, we just need to not use oil and clean it up.

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That suggestion will not work for all the people (say 25% of all car owners) that cannot afford more than a 15k USD gasser with high fuel and maintenance cost or a 20k USD hybrid with lower fuel and maintenance cost. You need to have a minimum cost solution for these people as they also need transportation for work etc.

I don't think my own suggestion about banning inefficient power trains like pure gassers and pure diesels will happen either. Old auto-industry lobbying and oil-industry lobbying with prevent it from ever happening. Subsidies are no good either. Who should pay for that? It has to cost nothing for tax payers. The only thing that can't be stopped by lobbying efforts is the coming driverless BEV taxis. That will work. You can build then as small two-seaters will lower cost per mile than private ownership of a 15 k USD gasser using gas at 2 USD per gallon. It could be half the cost per miles and still be a profitable taxi service.

Dr. Strange Love

Ever stricter emissions mandates (RE: ECI) and fuel economy rules is how to do it. I don't think incentives to purchase are necessary. Agencies will create and must enforce rules, and the evolution should happen.

Big oil is fighting it. Car companies will push back. Requirements to standards will evolve.

The commoner is clueless. They light bright, colorful, gadget filled things. This is why incentives don't work.


Incentives could work if they were high enough to reduce the price difference to zero with equivalent ICEVs or high enough to cover 100% of the ($10K to $15K) battery bank price.

This could be budget neutral with a proper carbon fee or progressive fossil fuel tax. An extra progressive 2 to 5 cents/gal/month liquid fuel tax, for the next 10 years, could do it.

Both the incentives and carbon/gas taxes could be adjusted every year to ensure that the program is budget neutral on a yearly basis.

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