Hyundai launches Ioniq hybrid compact

Hyundai launches Ioniq hybrid compact

Hyundai Motor launched the Ioniq hybrid, its first dedicated green car model with a newly developed powertrain, Thursday.

Hyundai says the car surpasses the performance and fuel efficiency of the marketing-leading Toyota Prius. With the Ioniq lineup ― along with the hybrid, EV and plug-in models, Hyundai aims to be the world’s second-largest automaker in the growing global green car industry.

“Through the launch, we want to herald our new beginning for future mobility as well as announce our strong will for technological innovation,” ” vice chairman Kwon Moon-sik said at the launch at Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

“We will spare no effort to leap ahead and become the second-largest player in the global green car market.”

Hyundai aims to sell 30,000 Ioniq hybrids around the world this year, including 15,000 domestically.

Next year, Hyundai aims to sell 77,000 globally.

Hyundai says the Ioniq hybrid has better performance and mileage than its rival Prius.

“In the past, hybrid vehicles have striven for better mileage at the expense of driving performance,” a Hyundai official said. “But our new car has succeeded in increasing mileage and offering driving fun at the same time.”

Based on a 1.6 GDi engine and electrified powertrain, the car has achieved 22.4 kilometers per liter (57 miles per gallon), beating the fuel efficiency of newest Toyota Prius ― to be launched here in March with fuel efficiency of 52 miles per gallon.

“Unlike the Prius, which uses two motors, our car runs on a motor battery thus keeping the energy loss to the minimum,” the official said. “Its six-speed transmission boosts driving fun.”

Smart features include a coasting guide, which lets the driver know when to step off the accelerator, and a predictive energy management system that automatically charges or discharges the battery in advance of upcoming energy needs, for instance, ahead of an uphill drive or downhill coast.

Hyundai says it will add four more models to its green car lineup on top of the 22 models the company already plans to introduce by 2020.

“Although green cars now make just 2 percent of our sales, we will lift this figure to 10 percent by 2020,” said a senior Hyundai official.

The Ioniq EV, which will be launched here in March, will have a more high-tech appearance, while the plug-in hybrid vehicle, scheduled to debut in the latter half of this year, will look the same as its hybrid model, but will have a different powertrain.

The Ioniq hybrid compact will debut in Europe at the Geneva International Motor Show in early March. The car will make its North American debut at the New York International Auto Show slated for late March.

Meanwhile, Hyundai will offer four special “confidence programs,” including a program where customers can have life-time guarantee for its battery. Or, if dissatisfied, customers can exchange the car for another same segment car within 30 days.

Ioniq prices will range from 22.9 million won to 27.8 million won, depending on options, reflecting the tax breaks for hybrid models. This is about 9 million won less than for Prius, Hyundai says.


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