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EV adoption strategy needed: Hyundai

Charged up: Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) chief executive officer JW Lee says he was surprised to learn that sales for its Ioniq electric vehicle has come primarily from private buyers.

Hyundai electric vehicles resonating with private customers rather than fleet buyers

22 Mar 2019

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) will target private buyers rather than fleet purchases for its alternatively powered models, having seen little government support for the electric vehicle market.
During a private meeting, prime minister Scott Morrison told HMCA that a national electric vehicle strategy would not be announced until after the federal election. 
Speaking at the launch of the Hyundai Kona Electric this month, HMCA manager of future mobility and government relations Scott Nargar said that the brand wants the government to help make electric vehicles more accessible.
“One of the biggest things we are looking for is fleet transition,” he said.
“We want to make sure the cars can get into government quickly and spread across Australia
and those cars get in the hands of mums and dads and the market.
“By doing that we can also increase usage of electric vehicles, which then in turn allows for investment into infrastructure, we want investment into nationwide infrastructure for vehicles and roads.”
Mr Nargar also suggested that he does not expect the government to legislate direct subsidies for EV purchases.
“It’s something we don’t expect to come any time soon from the current government,” he said.
“We’re working with both sides of politics and with state governments across Australia, but it’s something we’re not seeing any interest in at the moment.
“(Electric vehicles) are more expensive than an average car, so we want to encourage people to get into those.”
HMCA chief executive officer JW Lee said that while he was initially concerned about the limited EV support from the government, he was surprised by the take-up from private customers.
“In terms of the government subsidy support for environmental cars, Australia seems a bit slow compared to any other countries,” he said.
“As a CEO, my concern was, if we cannot get support from government for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles, demand will be very limited and we won’t be able to get good volumes.
“The government sector’s sales was not that much, but to private customers, demand was extraordinary … much, much higher than my expectations.
“We know our customers are very excited to get these new (electric) vehicles.”
Mr Lee pointed out that sales for its Ioniq, which hit the market in December with hybrid ($33,990 plus on-road costs), plug-in hybrid ($40,990) and electric ($44,990) powertrains, have been largely from retail customers.
“Since we launched Ioniq in December, we have sold 197 Ioniq cars and out of that 88 was electric vehicles, so almost 50 per cent of our Ioniq sales were electric vehicles,” he said.
“That was more than my expectations.
“Initially I thought that our major Ioniq buyer would be government and corporate sectors, but surprisingly most sales came from private customers.”
HMCA expects this trend to continue with its Kona Electric small SUV which launched this month, with “around 500 to 600” units allocated for Australia this year.
The all-new Kona Electric will go on-sale from $59,990 for the base Elite, or $64,490 for the range-topping Highlander, bolstering the South Korean brands stake in the slow-to-grow EV market in Australia.

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