Hyundai New Zealand to sell elec­tric

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DAVID LINKLATER

Hyundai New Zealand has been all about fam­ily-sized SUVs this year. The five-seat Tuc­son will be its big­gest-sell­ing pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle for 2016, fol­lowed by the seven-chair Santa Fe.

No­body’s ex­pect­ing that to change for 2017, but when it comes to new models the fo­cus will be very much on small cars. Or rather, small cars with a twist.

The most sig­nif­i­cant news from the Korean brand is con­fir­ma­tion that it will launch the Ioniq hatch­back here in Fe­bru- ary. Ioniq is Hyundai’s brand-new eco-car, avail­able in three ver­sions: pure elec­tric (let’s call it EV), hy­brid (like a Toy­ota Prius) and plug-in hy­brid.

That’s big news in it­self, but more ex­cit­ing is the price for the EV ver­sion we’ll see first: $59,990, which sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­cuts the only other two pure-elec­tric models on sale, the $74,300 BMW i3 BEV and the $74,990 Re­nault Zoe.

Hyundai NZ has two Ioniq EV eval­u­a­tion units here al­ready, and they’ve been do­ing the rounds with po­ten­tial Gov­ern­ment and fleet buy­ers. The brand has lit­tle more to say about the car un­til me­dia gets a first drive in Fe­bru­ary, but it did pull the cov­ers off one for jour­nal­ists at its Auck­land head­quar­ters this week.

Ex­pect an elec­tric range of around 200km (per­haps more in op­ti­mum ur­ban driv­ing con­di­tions) and fast-charging via a CCS con­nec­tor - the same one cho­sen for the ‘elec­tric high­way’ EV-in­fra­struc­ture be­ing cre­ated by Kiwi com­pany Charge Net, in part­ner­ship with BMW NZ.

By March we’ll also see a more con­ven­tional petrol-elec­tric hy­brid ver­sion of the Ioniq, with the pos­si­bil­ity of a plug-in hy­brid ver­sion later in 2017. All three look sim­i­lar, with the same Prius­like aero­dy­namic Kamm-tail pro­file. But the EV gets ex­tra styling sta­tus with a smooth sil­ver in­sert re­plac­ing the con­ven­tional grille of the hy­brid models. In­side, Hyundai has gone to great lengths to en­sure the Ioniq is ut­terly con­ven­tional in all its forms.

While Hyundai NZ is fu­ture­proof­ing with plug-ins, it’s also set to launch a new vari­a­tion of a very fa­mil­iar small-car theme with an all-new i20 su­per­mini for 2017.

SUP­PLIED

Don’t ex­pect too many frills in i20 cabin, but the fit and fin­ish is im­pres­sive.

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