Electric trifector – new Hyundai Ioniq with EV, PHEV and hybrid power

Published: 06 January 2016

Hyundai announces electric car plans
Ioniq will come as EV, PHEV and hybrid
European debut set for Geneva 2016 

Hyundai has released further details of its new Ioniq eco car, along with new renderings to give us a clearer idea as to what it will look like.

The new model is Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota Prius, but it comes with a twist: the Ioniq will be available as an all-electric vehicle, a plug-in electric vehicle and a hybrid.

Hyundai claims offering all three power unit types within a single bodystyle is an industry first, and says the Ioniq is a key part of its ambition to become ‘global green car market leader.'

The Ioniq’s basic shape is similar in profile to the aerodynamically efficient wedge made famous by the Prius – though Hyundai is talking the big talk about an attractive design. There’s the current Hyundai family hexagon grille at the front, with blue and white integrated around the headlights to differentiate it as an electric model.

By the time the Ioniq had been formally announced, we’d already snapped spy shots of it testing, including a clear view of the interior, which can be viewed in this story’s picture gallery.

Hyundai Ioniq? Sounds like a sports drink…

This may not be entirely coincidental. Ok, it probably is – but alongside the powertrain novelty, Hyundai is aiming to make a name for its new planet-saver by delivering a sporty driving experience as well as class-leading efficiency. We’ve already seen significant improvements in this regard from the fourth-gen Toyota Prius, so perhaps there’s a growing appetite for green cars with bite.

Rumours of a fully hot version called the Gym and Ioniq have not, however, been verified.

Hyundai Ioniq rendering

Read more about the Return of the Hybrid King on CAR+ here.

Come on then, what does Ioniq really stand for?

Goodness, how did you guess Hyundai had an explanation? It’s a portmanteau of ion – an electrically charged atom, natch – and unique, which is a reference to the new car’s position in the Hyundai range.

Any technical details about the Hyundai Ioniq yet?

All Hyundai is saying at this stage is that you will be able to buy one as a fully electric vehicle with a lithium-ion battery pack, a plug-in electric vehicle and a hybrid.

Both of the latter combine a petrol engine with an electric motor, but the plug-in will come with an extended electric range and correspondingly lower emissions by virtue of a bigger battery pack that can be recharged at the mains. The hybrid will rely on the combustion engine and energy recuperation to keep its much smaller battery topped up, and travel short electric distances only.

When does it go on sale?

First sight will come in Korea in January, followed by public outings at the 2016 Geneva and New York motor shows. Expect it to be on sale in Europe before the end of the year; domestic-market pre-orders are already being taken.

Inside the Ioniq cabin

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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