Hyundai currently features only one plug-in vehicle in its entire lineup, but the automaker plans to become a force in green cars soon. The program begins with the debut of the Hyundai Ioniq electric vehicle and hybrid due in early 2017. However, the automaker went on the record saying its new EV was just a pit stop on the path to 200 miles and competition with top brands in the electric car business.
A high-ranking official in Hyundai’s eco-vehicle performance group told members of the press in early November that the Ioniq’s EV range will exceed 124 miles while acknowledging it “is not enough,” Automotive News reports. He added that the manufacturer plans to extend Ioniq’s range to “more than 200 [miles] by 2018.”
By then, the electric vehicle market will look quite different. Following the release of the Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2016, Tesla Model 3 in 2017, and products from Nissan and possibly Volkswagen by 2018, Hyundai will be playing in a crowded field. But 124 miles is plenty of range at the present moment and, depending on the price point, could prove popular with consumers. Let’s look at what 124 miles would mean when the confirmed Ioniq EV arrives early next year.
Impressive specs for 2017
Promises of future electric vehicles sound great, but we have to constantly check back on what’s available now. Outside of the very expensive Tesla lineup, EV drivers don’t have much in the way of long-range models. There is the Nissan Leaf S30 with 107 miles at $32,450 and the BMW i3 94 Ah with 114 miles at $43,600. That’s the extent of the market below $66,000, which is the current cost of the base Tesla Model S with 210 miles. (Pricing quoted here is before incentives.)
In other words, 124 miles of range would be the best outside of the Chevy Bolt EV in early 2017. Bolt, offering 238 miles at a base price of $37,495, would be the clear value choice looking at range versus cost. However, not every driver needs over 200 miles of range and not every car consumer can afford $30,000 for their next purchase. So there is definitely a space in the market and an opportunity for automakers who bridge the gap between EV generations.
Ioniq fate tied to pricing
There are enough auto consumers who are aware of and want electric vehicles to support a number of mid-range models. Volkswagen is expected to unveil an upgraded e-Golf with over 120 miles of range at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. Likewise, Ford is releasing an upgraded Focus Electric with at least 100 miles of range by early 2017. Judging by the 100,000+ sales of the Nissan Leaf — most of them offering just 84 miles of range — we’d say over 100 miles is compelling enough if the price is right.
What is this “right” price? We estimate such cars would have to end up below $20,000 after consumers use the federal tax credit and other incentives. So that puts a cap at about $27,500 for the Ioniq EV and other improvements upon the first-gen lineup. If they launch at $25,000 before incentives, we would expect the market to really jump. Otherwise, Tesla’s Model 3 pitch of $35,000 and 215 miles would be tough to resist.