Hyundai has officially released its ground-breaking IONIQ range of alternative-fuel cars for sale, with international journalists having their first chance to get behind the wheel at the trio of eco-cars’ global launch in Amsterdam.
The IONIQ is the first Hyundai platform to be purpose-built for alternative-fuel drivetrains, and represents Hyundai’s flexible approach to moving its products towards zero-emissions technology. Instead of offering just one power source, the Korean carmaker is giving buyers a choice of three proven technologies within a single vehicle architecture: the IONIQ Hybrid, IONIQ Plug-in, and IONIQ Electric. Each alternative offers low emissions, and will also be comfortable and – very importantly – offer sporty performance and be fun to drive.
With demand expected to exceed the initial supply, Hyundai hopes to begin shipments to the GCC by the end of 2016, starting with Hybrid and Electric versions.
“There is a growing demand for cars that can minimize our environmental impact, and most of us within the industry are aware that electric power is the future, but it is clear that different buyers and markets have very different needs,” said Mike Song, Hyundai’s Head of Operations for Africa and the Middle East.
“For example, range anxiety with electric cars remains an issue for some buyers, particularly those whose driving includes long distances in fairly remote areas. By offering options to fit every circumstance, IONIQ will play an essential role in taking electric power mainstream, offering a practical stepping stone towards ever-more advanced technology in the next few years.”
Hyundai expects Hybrid models will account for the bulk of sales when the car arrives in the GCC. The full hybrid version features a 1.6 liter direct injection petrol engine with a 32 kW electric motor, the two offering a combined 103.6 kW of power and 265 Nm of torque, with a top speed of 185 km/h. The IONIQ Electric has less power at 88 kW, but more torque at 295 Nm, and an estimated maximum range of around 250 km on a full charge.
Both cars feature the latest technologies for infotainment, connectivity and comfort, and some of the industry’s most advanced safety and driver assistance systems. These include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist System, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart Cruise Control, as well as seven airbags and a highly rigid body structure to protect occupants in the event of an accident.
“Hyundai is showing the way forward across a full range of technologies, and that has been built into the IONIQ’s development at every level,” said Mike Song. “As well as industry-leading alternative drivetrains, the driver assistance technology includes building blocks from our work to create autonomous, driverless cars, reducing the risk of human error. The IONIQ is not just a cleaner car, it is also a safer one.”
Although the IONIQ is Hyundai’s first purpose-built alternative-fuel car, the brand already has a strong track record in looking beyond fossil fuels. Hybrid version of the Sonata mid-size sedan have been on sale in selected markets since 2011, while the Tucson Fuel Cell is the world’s first mass-production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
Coinciding with the first viewing of the pre-production IONIQ at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Hyundai announced that the new car would be followed by a broader Project IONIQ. This will be a comprehensive research and development program, bringing together all of the company’s technical expertise to define the future of sustainable mobility. Project IONIQ, along with development programs for connected and autonomous cars, will provide a clear strategy for moving new technologies from conceptualization to the showroom.