We’ve known for some time that the 2020 edition of the Hyundai IONIQ will get an increase in range. One it debut in 2017, the model had 200 km of range to give, which at the time fell squarely in the “acceptable” category. In the meantime, of course, competitors have engaged in an arms race and proposed ever-greater distances on a full charge.
All the IONIQ has to do, in fact, is look over at stablemate the Kona with its 415 km to understand it needs to up its game. And so Hyundai is doing exactly that.
For the moment, the details we’re getting have to do with the models destined for the European market, where the process for calculating is different than in North America, so we’re placing big asterisks on the numbers being announced. We do know that the change comes from the capacity of the EV battery. It will increase by 36%, from 28 kWh to 38.3 kWh.
This places the IONIQ on the same general plane as the base-model Nissan LEAF, which operates on a 40 kWh battery. As for range, the announced number of 310 km will be slightly lower for North America, if history is a gauge.
We also take note that the upgrade still places the IONIQ well behind the industry’s current big EV players like the Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Kona, as well as the Nissan LEAF with 62-kWh battery.
It’s worth keeping in mind that other markets than our own feature models with shorter ranges, meaning Hyundai can compete there with its IONIQ. As a result the company is trying to straddle the fence and satisfy all markets with the updated model.
Most interesting for the Canadian consumer is the price that will be attached to the 2020 edition. Those for whom 300 km of range is sufficient for their purposes will find the IONIQ a credible choice in the price range.
We will likely get more details regarding the version destined for North America later this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, or at the latest at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place in Las Vegas next January.