Hyundai New Zealand to sell electric
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.
Don’t expect too many frills in i20 cabin, but the fit and finish is impressive.