Hyundai is excited about its new Ioniq product line. In a first for a major manufacturer, the chassis for the new car will be used for three different powertrains — a traditional hybrid like the Toyota Prius, a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt, and a battery electric like the Nissan LEAF. The hybrid and the battery electric versions are expected to go on sale in the US later this year. The plug-in hybrid will arrive sometime thereafter.
Previous reports had suggested that number would be closer to 155 miles, but it turns out that is the rating according to the far more generous European test procedure. With the new Nissan LEAF having 107 miles of range and the upcoming Chevy Bolt boasting a 200 mile range, many were hoping the Ioniq would fall somewhere in between.
The battery electric car will have four levels of regenerative braking available. The driver will be able to select between the options using paddles behind the steering wheel. Those paddles are similar to those used to control dual clutch automatic transmissions, except the Ioniq has no transmission. It will also have a navigation system that uses an “eco-routing” algorithm that can choose the most energy efficient route to a destination. It factors in issues such as hills, turns, traffic signals, traffic and speed limits to preserve battery life and fight range anxiety.
Hyundai has designed the Ioniq hybrid to exceed the mileage capability of the Toyota Prius. Like the Prius, it will come in a standard version and a more frugal “eco” version. “Our target is a little more than our competitor,” said Lee Ki-Sang, senior vice president for Hyundai Motor Group’s Eco Technology Center. Beating the Prius “has really big meaning to me.”
In order to accomplish that goal, the Ioniq hybrid will need to better the regular Prius’ 52 mpg combined rating and the “eco” version’s 56 mpg combined rating. Whether drivers in the US will get excited about a 1 or 2 mpg difference in the era of cheap gasoline remains to be seen. Hyundai will introduce the Ioniq officially in the US at the New York Auto Show on March 23.
Photo credit: Hyundai