The all-electric derivative of Hyundai’s Ioniq eco car may see its maximum range on a single charge jump to at least 320km, with a senior Hyundai executive saying a significant battery upgrade is planned to arrive by 2018.
So far Hyundai has revealed three versions of the Ioniq – a petrol-electric hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a pure electric model – with the dedicated EV variant boasting a range of roughly 200km. That’s around 65km more than the Nissan Leaf, and equal to the BMW i3 94Ah.
However, Hyundai is planning on squeezing more electrons into the Ioniq EV to boost its travel distance and reduce range anxiety.
Speaking to industry outlet Automotive News, Hyundai’s director of eco-vehicle development Ahn Byung-ki said, “[200km] is not enough, and we have a plan to extend that to more than [320km] by 2018].
If Hyundai’s engineers can hit their 320km range target, that would put the 2018 Ioniq EV on equal pegging with the Chevrolet Bolt (which isn’t expected to come to Australia) and the incoming Tesla Model 3 (which will come here, but with local deliveries expected in 2019).
However, while Hyundai has yet to commit to bringing the Ioniq EV to Australia it’s not entirely off the cards either. Speaking to Wheels, Hyundai Australia spokesman Guido Schenken said there was still the potential for the pure-electric Ioniq to make it here alongside the conventional hybrid.
“We haven’t ruled anything out but Ioniq hybrid is the most likely to come in next year,” Schenken said.
“For us next year realistically it’d be the hybrid and potentially the all-electric.”
However unlike Toyota’s conservative strategy with its Toyota Prius hybrid – which remains a conventional petrol-electric model with no plug-in capability in Australia – Hyundai has the plug-in hybrid at the top of its Ioniq wishlist. The only thing holding that plan back is the longer lead time on that model, with production still yet to start on the PHEV.
“We’re definitely keen on the plug-in hybrid, we think it’s a good compromise for the Australian market,” Schenken revealed.