South Korean automaker Hyundai has announced that it is developing an affordable electric vehicle for the European market. Although European drivers won’t be able to get their hands on Hyundai’s entry-level EV any time soon, the $20,000 EV will undoubtedly be among the most affordable models in an industry that is plagued with high prices.
Most electric vehicle models, even the more affordable ones, tend to be costly, essentially locking out a large portion of the population that doesn’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on a car.
As with many legacy automakers, Hyundai has plans to electrify its lineup over the next decade. It has launched the Ioniq 5 crossover, a fully electric compact crossover with an estimated range of more than 300 miles and high-speed charging. Hyundai says that the Ioniq 5 will be the first in a line of battery electric vehicles. Hyundai plans to have 10 electrified vehicles, 7 of them SUVs, by the end of the year.
The range of EVs will include battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and even hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Alongside the Ioniq 5, which was meant to be a rival to Tesla’s Model Y, Hyundai also plans on launching the Ioniq 6 to compete with Tesla’s Model 3 followed by a three-row SUV called the Ioniq 7. The electric vehicle segment has limited three-row SUV options, and companies that are quick to develop such EVs may be able to carve out a decent portion of the market for themselves.
In the meantime, Hyundai is committed to developing an entry-level BEV for the European market, says Hyundai Motor Europe marketing chief Andreas-Christoph Hofmann. However, it will be a while before the battery-powered mini car, as Hoffman calls it, can go into mass production. Hoffman says Hyundai has a price target of 20,000 euros ($20,395). By 2030, he adds, the automaker will have launched 11 battery electric vehicles including the Ioniq 5.
Smaller electric vehicles have proven to be extremely popular with consumers because they cost less than typical EVs. In China, a local company called SAIC-GM-Wuling that produces mini-EVs has managed to outsell the top electric vehicle producer in the world. Selling at only $4,500, the diminutive Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV has a range of only about 100 miles with a top speed of 62 miles per hour, yet it managed to outsell the Model 3 in one of the most critical electric vehicle markets on the planet.
Volkswagen Group also plans to take advantage of Europe’s love for small cars, with a report from Automotive News Europe revealing that the automaker plans on selling a variety of entry-level models for approximately $20,000 through brands such as Volkswagen, Skoda and Cupra. Add companies such as QuantumScape Corp. to the mix, and the competition will be stiff, to the benefit of motorists who could reap rich pickings from those price wars.
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