One of the Market's Least Expensive EVs Is Due for a Range Bump

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
one of the markets least expensive evs is due for a range bump

Happen across a Hyundai Ioniq in your daily travels, and it’ll almost inevitably be a hybrid or plug-in hybrid model, not the fully electric variant. That’s because, unless you live in California, the Ioniq Electric is off limits. For now.

With a range that might have once impressed and an entry price starting below $30,000 before government incentives, the Ioniq Electric is an affordable five-door for those who aren’t concerned about brand snobbery or lengthy road trips. Still, Hyundai knows that models that don’t compete, don’t sell. That’s why the little hatch will soon be able to go further on a tank of charged particles.

Speaking to Inside EVs, Gil Castillo, Hyundai’s senior group manager for alternative vehicle strategy, said the Ioniq Electric’s 124-mile range will see a boost in about a year.

“The Ioniq’s range will improve at the model-year change. It will get bigger,” Castillo said, likely referring to a 2020 model offered late next year. While the automaker’s website shows only the 2018 model on sale right now, EPA tests on the 2019 model show no difference in fuel economy equivalency. So, how much further can owners expect to drive?

“It will be a nice improvement, but not like the Kona’s range,” Castillo said, referring to the Kona Electric’s 258-mile capability.

Not long ago, cresting the 100-mile market in a non-Tesla EV was something of a feat. Nissan’s Leaf and Ford’s Focus Electric started below 80 miles of range, eventually increasing their stomping grounds past the triple-digit bar. Until 2018, the Leaf was good for 107 miles. Now, the second-generation model offers 151 miles of range starting at $30,875 after a destination charge, but before a $7,500 EV tax credit. The Ioniq Electric’s price, which includes destination, starts at $29,500 before a tax credit.

For many, an extra 27 miles is worth paying the additional $1,375 to get into a Leaf. Of course, that’s assuming you live in California. Elsewhere, the Leaf offers a happy medium of range and price for buyers of modest means, with a pricier 200-plus-mile variant on the way for 2019.

While a range of around 200 miles would give the Ioniq Electric a serious leg up, you’d have to be pretty confident in Hyundai’s battery prowess to keep that dream alive. More likely, Hyundai will seek to outrange the base Leaf with its upgraded model, even if it’s by a mile or two.

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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2 of 20 comments
  • Bd2 Bd2 on Oct 31, 2018

    Doesn't need to have the range of the Kona EV as it's a good thing for an automaker to offer BEVs at different price-points (not everyone needs 290+ m of range).

  • THX1136 THX1136 on Nov 01, 2018

    Why is it thought that a battery with the capacity of those used in these vehicles should be able to recharge in 5 minutes? (serious question) The AA/AAA rechargeables I use - much, much lower capacity in comparison - take more than an hour to charge especially if charging from nearly depleted. I just don't get the criticism.

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.