Hyundai has confirmed that production of its original Ioniq will come to an end in July.
Launched in 2016, the Ioniq was the first vehicle to be designed from the ground-up for use with three electrified powertrains, namely hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric. Noted as a “a long-planned decision by Hyundai to meet changing consumer demands in the automotive sector,” production will cease at the brand’s Ulsan plant in South Korea, though sales of the Ioniq will continue until at least May, “depending on dealer stock.”
Significantly, the decision does not affect Hyundai’s electric models of the same name, the ‘Ioniq’ name used with the ‘5’ crossover and upcoming ‘6’ sedan and ‘7’ crossover having been established as a subsidiary brand dedicated to the brand’s electric models.
A production example of the ‘i-oniq’ concept launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, the Ioniq – a blend of ‘ion’ (atom or molecule with a net electrical charge) and ‘unique’ – was unveiled in January 2015 as a direct rival to Toyota’s hybrid Prius from 2016 onwards. In a bid to make Hyundai the “global number two in the green car market,” the Ioniq was the first of a planned 22 eco-friendly models the Korean brand aimed to introduce by 2020.
The hybridized 1.6-litre four-cylinder the Ioniq shared with Kia’s Niro crossover, plus deft use of aluminum to save weight and a 32 kW electric motor bringing combined power up to 104 hp, allowed the sedan to match, and by 2019 even surpass, the Prius in terms of fuel economy. The Ioniq’s most notable attribute though was its “streamlined” aerodynamic bodywork, which produced a drag co-efficient of just 0.24 cd.
The more limited Hyundai Electric, meanwhile, abandoned the ICE powertain altogether for an 88 kW motor and a 28 kWh battery that was said to produce an “optimistic” range of 250 km in South Korea, though this later dropped to 169 km for the North American market. Small fry by today’s standards – the Ioniq 5, built on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), is capable of up to three times that amount – the Ioniq nevertheless “laid the groundwork for the IONIQ EV line-up brand and other electrified models across Hyundai’s line-up.”