Everybody is suddenly talking about Hyundai now that Bloomberg called its Ioniq 5 EV one of the two “hottest cars on the market” in the US. For now, Hyundai is sharing the spotlight with another car maker. However, with the launch of the new Ioniq 6 EV, it is aiming straight for sole ownership of the top slot, and it just might get there.
Oh Great, A Baggage-Free EV (Relatively Speaking)
If you guessed a Tesla EV of one sort or another is sharing Bloomberg’s hottest car title with the Ioniq 5, that’s a good guess, but that’s not what Bloomberg reporter Kyle Stock had in mind. He cited another Hyundai Motor Group item, the Kia EV6.
Either way, the growing variety in the all-electric car market is good news for EV fans who have been casting about for alternatives to the offerings from Tesla. Owning an EV should be an uplifting experience. After all, one is saving the planet with every mile traveled (more on that in a sec). However, the baggage carted around by Tesla is becoming quite the load, one example being multiple charges of pervasive racism at the company’s factory in Fremont, California.
The attention-seeking behavior of Tesla CEO Elon Musk hasn’t helped much. To cite just one example (there are others), during the initial months of the COVID-19 outbreak Musk parroted former President Trump’s misdirection on the deadly virus. That was consistent with his support for the accused coup-plotter during his term in office, but not particularly helpful to those who were trying to save lives.
To be clear, any manufacturer is likely to carry some baggage. Hyundai, for example, does not appear to have learned the lessons of “dieselgate.” All the more reason to stop manufacturing gasmobiles!
More to the point, if you were asked to name the President and Global COO of Hyundai Motor Group, would José Muñoz come to mind?
Most auto execs keep a low profile, and for good reason. Why risk turning off potential customers when the attention should focus on the car, for which they are being asked to throw down a substantial sum of money.
So, What About The Ioniq 6 EV?
Where were we? Oh right, the new Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV. CleanTechnica’s Steve Hanley has been previewing the new car, and he took note last month when Hyundai posted a teaser with photos.
“The car closely follows the company’s Prophesy concept car that wowed the automotive world in March of last year,” he observed. “The Prophesy was sleek and svelte in a way that hadn’t been seen in a passenger car since the Audi 5000 burst on the scene in 1978.”
And how! Yesterday Hyundai upped the ante with a YouTube video profiling the Ioniq 6, along with a long-form press release.
You can catch all the deets from Hyundai, but for those of you on the go the key quote is this one:
“IONIQ 6 delivers an estimated all-electric range of over 610 km, according to Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) standard, as well as ultra-fast, 400-V/800-V multi-charging capability made possible by Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).”
For those of you keeping score at home, E-GMP is Hyundai’s universal, EV-specific platform. “This dedicated platform is made especially for EVs,” the company explains. “It comprises the chassis of the vehicle including the battery, motor and power electric system, and its scalable wheelbase allows it to form the backbone of many different types of vehicle.”
More to the point, E-GMP was introduced with a battery range of 500 kilometers, which the new Ioniq6 EV beats by a wide margin.
Breaking The EV Demographic Bubble
The YouTube video has already earned a few snide remarks from people who comment on YouTube videos (shocker!), but they’re missing the point.
Back when Tesla was the only game in town, the demographic profile of the typical EV owner was an upper-income, older white male. That demographic still dominates the electric vehicle market in general and the Tesla Model 3 in particular. The firm Hedges & Company recently ran the numbers and came up with this:
“Owners of the Model 3 are overwhelmingly male. Women only own 16% of Model 3s and men own 84%.
That makes the Model 3 the most “male” of the Tesla models. Males own 77% of Model S vehicles and women own 23%. Males drop to 71% for the Tesla Model X, vs. 29% female.”
That’s not too far out of whack with the gender breakdown of the new car-buying public overall, which continues to skew towards men (used cars are a different story). However, it does indicate that EV makers have failed to tap into the non-male market, and that’s where the Ioniq 6 EV has a chance to break through the bubble.
Ignore the YouTube comments and take a look at what Hyundai is selling. It’s not pitching a car to save the planet (which is nonsense anyways). Hyundai is pitching a working vehicle to women and other non-males who value a stress-free experience while they’re going about the business of their day.
The idea of vehicle as a work station is not a new thing. It’s been around for generations. The COVID-19 pandemic and remote work have added a new level of demand for mobile work environments, and EV technology provides the platform.
A big angle on the EV benefit, which Hyundai enthusiastically milks, is vehicle-to-device charging without the need to fill the surrounding environment with the noise and fumes of an internal combustion engine idling.
Another benefit is the extra space and flexibility afforded by electric drive.
“The innovative interior is meticulously thought out as a cocoon-like personal space, enhanced with the latest technologies to create a safe, fun, and stress-free driving experience,” enthuses “Thomas Schemera, who is the Executive Vice President, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Customer Experience Division, Hyundai Motor Company.
What’s The Big Deal About Electric Vehicles?
The idea of saving the planet by purchasing an EV is not complete nonsense, but it skates pretty close to the edge. After all, tailpipe emissions are just the tail end of a long carbon chain from the automaker to the dealer. If you really want to cut your personal carbon footprint, walk more, bike more, carpool, use mass transit, or get an e-bike.
To be fair, alternative mobility is not an option for many people. That’s where the EV choice beats any gasmobile, any day.
Still, regardless of what comes out of the tailpipe a car can pose a hazard, even when not in motion.
If you’ve ever been doored, or had to swerve to avoid a car door opening suddenly in your path, you know all about that. That safety issue is bound to grow in scale as more people take to bicycles, e-bikes and sooters.
Hyundai appears to have considered the dooring hazard, though from the opposite perspective. The Ioniq 6 takes advantage of all the driver-assist bells and whistles to avoid colliding with pedestrians and other alternative-mobility users, and then there’s this interesting feature:
“IONIQ 6…assures the safety of backseat passengers with Safe Exit Warning (SEW), which provides a warning when a vehicle is approaching from the rear-side while getting out of the vehicle. When the occupant opens the door to exit the vehicle after a stop, if an approaching vehicle from the rear side is detected, it provides a warning.”
Interesting! No word yet on whether or not SEW is sensitive enough to warn of two-wheeled approaches, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Production is expected later this year, so stay tuned for more on that.
Follow me on Twitter @TinaMCasey.
Photo (cropped): Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV courtesy of Hyundai.
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