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Servicing facilities scarce for Hyundai EVs

Popular mechanics: Despite being the most expensive variant in the range, the majority of Ioniq customers have opted for the pure electric powertrain in Australia.

Australian Hyundai electric vehicle customers restricted to just 18 service centres

22 Mar 2019

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) bolstered its electric vehicle (EV) line-up this month with the new Kona Electric small SUV joining its Ioniq Electric sedan in its Blue-Drive vehicle range, however the emissions-free models will be sold and serviced at just 18 dealerships nationwide.
Currently, there are four dealerships with Blue-Drive facilities in Melbourne and Sydney, three in Perth and Brisbane, and just one in Canberra, Adelaide and Tasmania. 
Speaking at the launch of the Kona Electric, HMCA chief executive officer JW Lee said the brand plans to expand its Blue-Drive dealer network sometime in the future to accommodate the expected increase in popularity of EVs.
“We currently have 18 Blue-Drive dealers that are now able to cater to the customer’s demands,” he said.
“We are planning to expand to some more Blue-Drive dealers, but they are yet to be designed.
“For a proper service, these dealers need to be equipped with some special tools.”
According to HMCA manager of future mobility and government relations Scott Nargar, working with alternatively powered vehicles requires a number of unique resources, including higher trained technicians.
“You have to make sure the technicians are comfortable working with high voltages, they have to have the correct certifications,” he said.
“Hyundai is part of a group looking at national technician accreditation, figuring out what we need to be training our service technicians for the future.
“We’re not seeing too many carburettors anymore, we’re seeing high-voltage and even hydrogen vehicles with very high pressures of gas, and autonomous technology.”
Blue-Drive dealerships are also equipped with facilities to train customers how to use EV charging stations, according to Mr Nargar.
“The dealers have AC charging in the customer and technician bays, and also have (mock-up) chargers on the floor so they can show the customer how to plug in the vehicle, how to operate it, which is generally the same charger they can purchase as an accessory to their home,” he said.
The Hyundai Kona Electric offers 449 kilometres of driving range, so the small dealer network may not be an issue for owners, particularly because the majority of EV customers live in urban areas. 
However, it may be more difficult for owners of the Ioniq Electric, which offers just 230 kilometres of driving range.
Both the Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric are offered with a capped-price service program which prices each service visit at $165 and $160 for each respective model.
Moreover, the EVs come with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with 12-month/15,000km service intervals, and benefits from an additional high-voltage battery warranty that extends to eight years or 160,000km, whichever comes first.
HMCA sold 88 Ioniq Electric from its launch in December to the end of February, making it more popular than its hybrid and plug-in hybrid siblings, despite being the most expensive of the bunch at $44,990 before on-road costs.
A spokesperson from HMCA told GoAuto that Australia has an initial allocation of around 500-600 units of the Kona Electric, with the all-new small SUV priced from $59,990.

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