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Hyundai announces Ioniq, EV-exclusive brand to challenge VW ID

John Law

The Hyundai Ioniq was a small sedan that spearheaded the Korean brand’s drive for lower emissions, while offering the unique choice of hybrid, PHEV and fully electric variants in Australia.

Now that nameplate – a blend of “iconic” and “unique” – has expanded into a whole new brand. As Genesis is the luxury arm of Hyundai, Ioniq will now be the green branch with three new fully electric vehicles slated in the next four years.

First to break onto the market will be a compact crossover which, Hyundai says, will be reminiscent of the 45 concept car and should arrive sometime in 2021, named the Ioniq 5.

2021 Ioniq 5 side
The concept car that will inform the future of Ioniq.

Designers say it harks back to the ItalDesign Pony Concept of 1974 but reimagined through parametric design algorithms. This is fast becoming technique a synonymous with Hyundai styling, and one that has notably informed the many details of the Genesis GV80.

As for the following models, the brand has decided that even numbers will represent traditional saloons, a la the Ioniq 6, with a larger SUV dubbed the Ioniq 7 to follow.

The brand’s current raft of EVs including the Kona Electric and aforementioned Ioniq small sedan will, for now, remain housed under the Hyundai name. However, it sounds like they will be quickly superseded by these all-new electric vehicles.

2021 Ioniq Design sketch
Can you spot the resemblance between the Pony and the 45 concept?

While the Kona Electric currently has around 450km of real-world range, though it sits on the same underpinnings as the regular Kona and as such has to work around packaging compromises.

Like Volkswagen has done with the ID.3, the new Ioniq brand has been developing an EV only platform dubbed the E-GMP. The brand claims this will allow “fast-charging and plentiful driving range”. Naturally, potential battery size and exact capabilities will be revealed in time, but expect the new platform to house more than the Kona’s 64kWh of charge. 

The all-new platform is also said to provide ever-more freedom for designers who will be able to craft interiors of future Ioniqs into “smart living spaces” to offer maximum relaxation for operators. 

2021 Ioniq Prophecy/6 rear
Ioniq’s second model – the 6 – will be a sedan based on Hyundai’s Prophecy concept.

Hyundai says the recently teased Prophecy concept gives a glimpse into the Ioniq’s second model, a sedan dubbed the ‘6’, all we see is the exterior possibilities.

Images from inside the 45 concept demonstrate an open-plan cockpit-style that will presumably influence the final product. The dual-width touchscreen in the render isn’t too far-fetched, we’ve seen a similar thing in the production-ready Honda E.

However, the “projection beam interface” for the passenger seems like a novel idea. Without a transmission tunnel to get in the way, though, the interior can truly become open-plan with extended leg-room possibilities and hugely increased modularity for all occupants.

2021 Ioniq 5 Interior
Open-plan modernist interiors? Yes please.

Hyundai’s vision of future-mobility is quickly becoming a reality. With these three Ioniq vehicles emerging over the next four years the brand is keen to become a leader in the EV segment, with the target of over one million BEV sales by 2025.