€20,000 EV From Hyundai, Ugly EV Concept From Russia

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The CleanTechnica newsroom is always on top of news from the EV universe. Our motto, as stenciled prominently on the door, says proudly, “All the news that fits, we print.” Today, two bulletins arrived at CleanTech Central, one of great significance to EV aficionados, the other of no significance whatsoever.

20,000 Euro Hyundai Ioniq 2 EV Under Development

It’s no secret that an affordable EV is needed to transition the market for electric cars from early adopters to mainstream drivers. Earlier this year, Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, VP of marketing for Hyundai Europe, hinted to Automotive News that a smaller, cheaper Ioniq 2 is in the works. ” Everybody in the industry knows the target of this kind of vehicle is 20,000 euros.” We presume such a car will be manufactured on a new platform that allows the company to cut costs to make such a car profitable. Even though it is affordable, we further expect it to have more range than a first generation Nissan LEAF.

Oddly enough, the Chevy Bolt/EUV was almost such a car, once all available incentives were factored in. The Bolt had one glaring drawback — very slow Level 3 charging. But for people who didn’t have a 100 mile a day commute, it was nearly an ideal car and much loved by those who own one, so naturally Chevrolet decided to kill it off before its successor was ready. Many companies would build as many as they could, since the tooling was all paid for, but that is not the GM way.

Chevrolet’s decision to abandon the lower end of the EV market prematurely leaves the field wide open for Hyundai to waltz in and become the leader in low cost EV models if it chooses. Tesla is also rumored to have a less expensive EV under development, but Elon time being what is, that car could be 3 to 4 years away from production.

There are several things we don’t yet now about the Ioniq 2. Will it be built in the use with batteries that comply with the latest Treasury Department rules for battery materials and components? If so, there’s a chance the car could cost consumers less than $15,000 after all rebates are applied. We have to assume a car that has the build quality Hyundai is known for would sell like hot cakes at that price.

But Hyundai hasn’t actually said the Ioniq 2 would even be offered in the US. Volkswagen has a less expensive electric car in the works that are supposed to start at under 20,000 euros but has no intention of selling that car in the American market. If the Ioniq 2 is available in Europe and not the US, a lot of EV fans are going to be disappointed.

Companies seem to think Americans have no appetite for small, low priced EV models, to which we have this response — Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia. Oh, and throw Yugo into the mix as well. Whether it makes financial sene to produce a low cost EV in America to gain access to federal incentives is a separate consideration.

Russian EV Concept Breaks Cover

Filling out our EV news today is the announcement of a concept car from Moscow Polytechnic University. Officially, it is known as the Amber but Autoblog says it looks more like a parrotfish that has had its face clubbed in by a frying pan. The merry pranksters here at CleanTechnica immediately renamed it the Tangerine Turnip.

The university did not release specs on the Amber’s range, power or even what kind of charger it uses. According to World Today News, production is scheduled to start in 2025 at an Avtotor plant in Kaliningrad. That site once built cars for BMW, Ford, and Hyundai before those companies pulled out of Russia following its criminal invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022.

With many high-profile western companies refusing to do business in Russia, as well as foreign government-imposed sanctions, the Amber’s developers have stated this will be a wholly Russian effort. According to World Today News, all the main components of the electric car — engine, inverter, control panels, batteries — are developed and manufactured in Russia. MPU also says the EV will be “compact and affordable” because the battery can be rented rather than purchased, and the body will not require expensive technology to produce.

The Amber’s comically absurd exterior is likely a result of using off the shelf parts. As outlets such The Autopian have pointed out, its glass and mirrors have likely been taken from the parts bin of an existing vehicle, particularly the bug-eyed headlights.

The unnecessarily tall height hides what is likely a not very well integrated battery pack, Autoblog speculates. What the two portholes on the right side are for is anyone’s guess. Perhaps the Amber will have dual charging ports, but their haphazard placement indicates more off-the-shelf components smooshed together.

The Amber’s ugliness set off a wave of ridicule across the internet, including a dose of derision from Ukrainian social media users. Comparisons to the Fiat Multipla, which also had two headlights oddly placed at the base of the windshield, were probably inevitable. Russian cars built during the Soviet era — Lada, UAZ, VAZ — often sported a homely but utilitarian appearance. In the case of the Amber, it appears that at least some semblance of an attempt was made at design, but that almost makes the misshapen result that much worse, Autoblog said snarkily. World Today News reports the production model will look different from the prototype. Let’s hope so.

The Takeaway

Forget about the Amber. It is embarrassingly irrelevant and will probably sell in the dozens, assuming it ever actually goes into production. The Hyundai Ioniq 2, however, could have a dramatic effect on the EV market worldwide. It’s not that there aren’t any number of Chinese companies eager to flood the world with cheap electric cars, but Hyundai is a recognized brand with decades of experience at building quality automobiles that stand up well to the rigors of daily driving. Its reputation could be the key to convincing those considering the purchase of a EV for the first time to take the plunge.

Will it be built? Where will it be built? How much will it cost? Those are questions with no answers at present. But if Hyundai decides to move forward, the result will not be irrelevant the way the Amber is.


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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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