All-electric crossovers simply take priority and Hyundai just so happens to have one.
It’s very impressive how fast some mainstream automakers, such as Hyundai, are launching electric vehicles that can be driven the same way as conventional internal combustion-engined vehicles. Just look at the new Hyundai Kona EV and its 258-mile range on a single charge. But what about Hyundai’s other and also highly respected EV, the Ioniq? Also sold as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, the Ioniq lineup is a step forward towards a new powertrain future and Hyundai clearly intends to be a major industry player.
However, the Ioniq EV currently has a driving range of 124 miles per charge. To compare, the second-generation Nissan Leaf has a 151-mile range on a single charge.
According to Inside EVs, the Ioniq EV will soon receive a range boost, but there’s a catch: it won’t be at the same level as the Kona. Speaking to Gil Castillo, Hyundai’s senior group manager for alternative vehicle strategy, Inside EVs was told the “Ioniq’s range will improve at the model-year change. It will get better. It will be a nice improvement but not like the Kona’s range," Castillo said.
The obvious question then is: why doesn't Hyundai adapt the Ioniq to have the Kona’s range capabilities? Is it a technological issue? No, apparently its a body style issue. Crossovers rule these days regardless of powertrain technology. The Kona will simply appeal to more buyers because it is a crossover while the Ioniq is a five-door hatchback.
“It doesn’t matter that the Ioniq has better fuel economy (over the Kia Niro plug-in hybrid)” said Castillo. “That doesn’t matter as much as the body style, which is so much more important.” Why should Hyundai invest more money into the Ioniq EV when it already knows the Kona EV will sell better? Makes no sense. What does make sense is for the Ioniq EV’s range to better match that of its direct competitors, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt.
But the message here is quite clear: all-electric crossovers are quickly becoming the most important new vehicle type for automakers.