Hyundai unveils sedan version of cult EV

Hyundai unveils sedan version of cult EV

The Ioniq 6 sedan is displayed during the press day at the 2022 Busan International Motor Show on Thursday. (Bloomberg photo)
The Ioniq 6 sedan is displayed during the press day at the 2022 Busan International Motor Show on Thursday. (Bloomberg photo)

SEOUL: Hyundai Motor Co unveiled a sedan version of its cult electric vehicle yesterday, with an interior that can beam different colours depending on the speed of the car, as the automaker continues its ambitious EV push with an eye on challenging rivals such as Tesla Inc and General Motors Co.

"The Ioniq 6 can travel up to 610 kilometres (379 miles) on a single charge of its 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery, compared with 429 kilometers for the Ioniq 5,'' Hyundai said in a statement as the car debuted at the Busan International Motor Show.

Production will start in the third quarter this year, and batteries will be supplied by LG Energy Solution Ltd and another Korean partner, SK On Co.

Sales in South Korea will begin in September with a base price of 55 million won ($42,000), according to the company. US sales will begin in early 2023 and the wider rollout will be announced later. Prices for customers overseas haven't been announced yet.

"The EV will be aimed at young, single professionals, in contrast to the bigger, more family-focused Ioniq 5,'' Hyundai's senior vice president of North America sales Randy Parker said.

"The car will be produced in Asan, South Korea, and there are no plans to make it outside the country for now,'' EV head Heung Soo Kim said.

Hyundai didn't announce a sales target for the model.

Hyundai plans to invest 95.5 trillion won in electrification this decade, introducing at least 17 new models between this year and 2030 and targeting annual sales of 1.87 million EVs by the end of the period.

The company is gunning for a 7% share of the global EV market by 2030, and an 11% share in the US.

The arrival of the Ioniq 6 comes about seven-and-a-half months after Hyundai unit Kia Corp unveiled its latest Niro electric SUV.

Kia's EV9, a luxury SUV, will be released in 2023.

Hyundai and Kia together sold about 123,000 battery-powered and plug-in hybrid EVs in the first half of this year, putting them third on the world's top EV-maker list, behind Tesla and BYD Co, according to BloombergNEF data.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa region accounted for nearly 60% of their sales, while Kia has become the second-most popular EV brand in the US this year.

"I'm positive about the Ioniq 6, especially in Europe because Ioniq 5 and Kia's EV 6 were so popular there," said Angela Hong, an analyst with Nomura in Seoul. "Hyundai's EV margins don't seem that bad so far because a weaker Korean won has offset losses from higher battery prices."

The won has weakened about 10% against the dollar this year.

The Ioniq 6 has similar autonomous driving features to the Ioniq 5, including Highway Driving Assist 2 and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist.

The model's seats are about 30% thinner than other models in the series, providing more legroom, while there are five USB ports and space next to the driver for a laptop. Some software can also be updated remotely, a first for Hyundai.

"Hyundai is changing so fast to win the race in EV industry, faster than other traditional carmakers," said Woo Taek Hwang, a fund manager at Korea Investment Management Co in Seoul. "The Ioniq series reminds me of Samsung's Galaxy series, when Samsung was working extremely hard to catch up with Apple's iPhones. Hyundai is becoming a fast follower for Tesla."

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