In early December, Hyundai announced the name of its long awaited alternative-fuel compact car which has been languishing on the back burner over in the concept department’s kitchen for almost four years. First unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show for the European market as the “i-oniq,” the vehicle is primed to come to life with Hyundai stating that the car will be due for launch sometime in 2016.
Referred to more simply as the “Ioniq,” Hyundai’s most hybridized car to date will be made available with electric, plug-in gasoline/electric hybrid, or gasoline/electric hybrid powertrains for the first car in history to offer customers all three of these drivetrain options in a single body style/chassis.
Designed to respond to “rapidly changing customer lifestyles,” the Ioniq looks to dispel any shortcomings by offering customers the choice of three powertrain options, class-leading fuel efficiency numbers, and a fun, responsive drive that is balanced out by an attractive design. This unique mix is something that Hyundai claims automakers still have yet to achieve in the hybrid field.
Woong-Chul Yang, Head of Hyundai Motor R&D Center elaborates:
“Hyundai Motor has a heritage of building innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles, so we are proud to advance our eco-friendly car line-up with the introduction of IONIQ. Our vision for future mobility focuses on choice, with a variety of powertrain options to suit customers’ varied lifestyles, without compromising on design or driving enjoyment. IONIQ embodies Hyundai Motor’s vision to shift the automotive paradigm and future mobility; IONIQ is the fruit of our efforts to become the leader in the global green car market.”
While the photo seen here may be of the original concept from 2012, Hyundai says that the car’s name still references elements of its creation. Since an ion is an electrically-charged atom, it seemed only appropriate to incorporate this branding due to the car’s use of various electrified powertrains. The second half of the name has been introduced to illustrate the “unique” characteristics this vehicle can offer the modern car buyer. Demonstrating what Hyundai calls “the brand’s environmental commitment and willingness to maximize choice for its customers,” the Ioniq’s “Q” wraps things up by depicting the car’s logo as a visual breakthrough, which roughly translates to Hyundai saying “we couldn’t call it the ‘IONI’ because that would sound and look pretty weird.”
Esoteric namesakes aside, the Ioniq will be based on an exclusive new platform, which will be built to house the car’s multiple powertrain options and optimized to deliver responsive handling and ride comfort. In full-electric form, the Ioniq will be powered by a high capacity, next-generation lithium ion battery, the plug-in hybrid version will unsurprisingly combine a fuel-efficient engine with electric capabilities, while the regular hybrid version will utilize the motion of the car to charge the on-board battery.
While none of these announcements sound particularly revolutionary, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that the EPA estimates would be notably high for this vehicle or that the performance levels on certain models are surprisingly swift — we hope. Hyundai is going to need every ounce of awesome it has in its arsenal, because after testing out the redesigned Toyota Prius, with its double wishbone rear suspension, chart-topping EPA fuel gains, and futuristic appearance, it’s now even tougher to topple the world’s best-selling hybrid.
So as Hyundai sets its sights on a bigger, greener game, the world premier of the Ioniq in South Korea next month looms near, and everyone waits and watches, wondering if one day Korean automakers will usurp the Japanese and Germans via global domination.