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Hyundai Ioniq has one foot in Australia

Price leader: Hyundai’s hybrid Ioniq has been priced about $5000 under Toyota’s Prius in the UK.

Delayed, but Hyundai’s hybrid Ioniq clears one hurdle en route to this market

Hyundai logo18 Aug 2016

HYUNDAI Motor Company’s first dedicated electrified vehicle, the Ioniq, is one step closer to the Australian market after receiving identification plate approval from transport bureaucrats in Canberra.

Identified only by its model code AE, the five-door hybrid hatchback is going through the Australian design rule (ADR) process ahead of its planned launch here in 2017.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) had hoped to have the Toyota Prius competitor in Australian showrooms in the second half of this year, but now expects it to be delayed by some months.

No reason has been given for the delay, but Hyundai is in the process of rolling out Ioniq globally, including Europe and the United Kingdom where pricing for the standard hybrid version has just been announced ahead of the October debut there.

Unlike the hybrid Prius, the Ioniq will be offered in three electrified forms – hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric – in some markets.

In Australia, the two hybrid forms are in the frame for local launch, with the plug-in version and its 50km all-electric range and extended petrol running of about 700km seen as the most suited to this market.

In Europe, the Ioniq – a name combining ion and unique – will kick off with the standard hybrid in three specifications – SE, Premium and Premium SE. The plug-in and all-electric variants will come later.

Interestingly, Hyundai UK has priced the Ioniq hybrid at £19,995 ($A33,836) – a significant £3000 ($A5076) below the base Prius in that market.

In Australia, the Prius starts at $34,990 plus on-road costs. If HMCA adopts a similar pricing policy, its base hybrid Ioniq could sit around $30,000.

The Ioniq marks the start of an eco-car blitz by the South Korean company which has announced plans for 22 such vehicles by 2020 – 12 hybrids, six plug-in hybrids, two EVs and two fuel-cell cars.

The plug-in petrol-electric Ioniq combines a 45kW electric motor feeding from an 8.9kWh lithium-ion polymer battery and a 78kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine.

Instead of a continuously variable transmission like the Prius, the Ioniq employs a dual-clutch transmission with Sport and Eco modes.

The standard hybrid Ioniq – the most direct competitor to the Prius – gets the same 1.6-litre petrol engine but running in tandem with a less powerful 24kW electric motor and smaller 1.56kWh battery. It too gets the dual-clutch transmission.

The all-electric version’s 28kWh battery and 88kW electric motor is claimed to provide a full-charge driving range of between 169km and 250km, depending on which test cycle you fancy.

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