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Local Hyundai Kona EV supply subject to global demand

Popularity contest: The Hyundai Kona Electric will land in Australia next year, partially due to its huge popularity in other global markets.

Hyundai Kona Electric, Ioniq EV supply to contend with global popularity

Hyundai logo16 Aug 2018

WITH Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) set to introduce two battery electric vehicles in coming months, local supply will depend on European markets, which are showing a growing appetite for alternative-technology powertrains.
 
The company will release its full three-variant Ioniq sedan range later this year – consisting of mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full-electric versions – while the battery-electric Kona Electric small SUV will likely follow in 2019, with Australian production slots beginning in October.
 
Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the updated Tucson, HMCA senior product planning manager Andrew Tuitahi said that the company would have to compete with large order numbers from Europe when bringing the Kona Electric.
 
“We’ve got production slots for October, so launch depending on actually hitting that production target, getting cars on boats and getting them here – it could even scrape into early next year,” he said.
 
“It’s a little bit too early to say right now (firm timing), it’s also hard to manage because there’s a lot of production being requested from Europe, so I think once we get our slots confirmed, we’ll be able to see when the cars will arrive and when the best time to launch will be.”
 
The Kona Electric has received considerable interest from countries with generous government subsidies for EV purchases such as Norway, where it was revealed in June that as many as 20,000 reservations had been made for the car, 7000 of which were concrete orders.
 
HMCA general manager external affairs Bill Thomas told GoAuto that the Kona Electric was generating local interest from private buyers, however he didn’t have exact numbers of how many Australians are interested.
 
“We think that the Kona is more of a private buyer’s proposition (compared to fleets/businesses) in terms of the make-up of the volume,” he said.
 
“At this point we’re not sure exactly how it will go – it’s also quite a practical little car – we haven’t done a lot of research into (local sales volume) but the Kona is a really ground-breaking little piece of kit, and we’re looking at that as quite an exciting proposition, but we don’t have any volume projections at this point.”
 
Meanwhile the three-pronged Ioniq range, which is set for a full launch before the end of the year, has been the subject of considerable fleet interest, following a limited fleet trial where 70 examples of the Ioniq hybrid were distributed across a number of companies in March.
 
Mr Thomas said that while the Kona Electric was generating interest from private buyers, the Ioniq – particularly the full-electric version – had attracted interest from fleets.
 
“Talk is cheap and we don’t have any firm orders, but the interest in the EV Ioniq as an affordable, useful practical EV, interest has been strong from government and corporate, so we’re quietly confident we can do quite well with that vehicle,” he said.
 
Hyundai is yet to release pricing for either the Ioniq or Kona, however GoAuto has previously speculated that the Ioniq could start at just over $30,000 plus on-roads for the entry-level plug-in hybrid, rising to around $45,000 for the full-EV version.
 
A circa-$45,000 pricetag would mean the Ioniq could undercut one of its main rivals, the new-gen Nissan Leaf, which is expected to arrive at around $50,000. Renault’s Zoe hatch, which began sales to private buyers last month, is priced between $51,990 and $54,540.
 
The Kona Electric is expected to comfortably be the most expensive variant, with the range currently topping out at $36,000 for the Highlander grade. It is also expected to land with a pricetag for around $50,000.

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