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Hyundai electric cars in Australia: Everything you need to know

Hyundai began researching and developing alternatives to ICE vehicles as far back as the early ’90s.

A lot of news involving the automotive industry these days is largely focused on electric vehicles (EVs), which may seem like they’ve recently arrived on the scene with the goal of turning internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicles into dinosaurs. Mind you, it seems to be a significantly slower process than a meteorite impact.

What many people aren’t aware of, however, is that most major car manufacturers have been developing EVs for decades, well before Tesla came along to dominate headlines with its battery-powered tech fantasies.

Hyundai began researching and developing alternatives to ICE vehicles as far back as the early 1990s, with its first EV, the Sonata Electric Vehicle, emerging in 1991, and its first hybrid, the FGV-1, unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show in 1995.

In 2008, Hyundai began mass-producing hybrids for the consumer market using what it calls “BlueDrive” technology, which includes using lithium-polymer batteries (the current industry norm are lithium-ion batteries, with both types coming with their own set of pros and cons). 

Demonstrating how serious it is about developing cars using alternate power sources, Hyundai spent a whopping $45.6 billion developing the full electric Hyundai BlueOn in 2009, which came with a 16.4 kWh lithium polymer battery pack and the ability to charge to 80 per cent after just 25 minutes. 

In 2016 Hyundai took on Toyota’s top-selling hybrid, the Prius, with its Ioniq - the first ever car to come in hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and all-electric variants, yet no ICE option whatsoever. 

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Ioniq is now a standalone brand that will utilise the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), a dedicated EV platform consisting of a battery pack under the cabin and an all-in-one motor, transmission, and inverter that will be used on all Hyundai EV models moving forward. 

Hyundai hydrogen vehicles 

Hyundai has furthered its commitment to developing cars with a low environmental impact by developing certain models powered by hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe (filling stations, sadly, are significantly less abundant). 

First came the Nexo crossover SUV in 2018, and then the Xcient Fuel Cell in 2020, the world's first production hydrogen fuel cell truck, which is now on the road in Sweden, Germany and New Zealand. The same year it also launched the Elec City FCEV, a hydrogen-powered bus with a driving range of 434 kilometres. 

The Nexo is available in Australia on special order for lease, despite a dearth of hydrogen fuelling stations. 

Although the federal government has provided funding for the building of more hydrogen stations (the NSW and Victorian governments have also invested $20 million for hydrogen fuel stations to be built between Sydney and Melbourne), there are only three publicly available (one each in Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra, where a fleet of Nexos have been leased to the government for evaluation purposes) as well as a private filling station in Sydney at Hyundai HQ.

Hyundai has also talked about its hydrogen-powered Hyundai N Vision 74 sports coupe concept, which many or may not ever become a reality. 

Hyundai electric vehicles available in Australia

Here's our list of Hyundai electric cars currently on sale in Australia, and some which are coming soon.

Kona Electric 

Prices from: 2024 TBC

The Kona Electric is one of the longest-running fully electric models in the Australian market, and has offered an appealing mix of a long driving range in the ever-popular small SUV format. The updated version arriving in 2024 will continue to come in both standard and long range versions with up to 490km between charges - excellent for an EV in its class.

Ioniq 5

Prices from: $64,500 (RWD), $70,500 (Dynamiq RWD), $80,500 (Epiq AWD), $111,000 (N)

The Ioniq 5 stunned many with its unconventional retro-futuristic styling, and debuted Hyundai’s next-generation e-GMP underpinnings when it launched in 2021. It has many headline electric car features, like a flat floor, sliding centre console, a huge interior space, sustainable interior materials, and vehicle-to-load, allowing owners to power external household devices with the car’s battery. 
Recent improvements to the Ioniq 5 range include an expanded list of variants (including a sought-after N variant) and a reduction in price for the entry-level Standard Range rear-wheel drive.

Ioniq 6

Prices from: $74,000 (Dynamiq), $83,500 (Techniq), $88,000 (Epiq)

The Ioniq 6 is the second e-GMP model to launch in Australia, and takes a more unconventional sedan-like shape compared to its Ioniq 5 sibling. It also offers long driving ranges (at up to 614km) a high level of standard equipment, and plenty of power, particularly in high-spec all-wheel drive variants (239kW/605Nm).

Like the Ioniq 5, the Ioniq 6 also makes use of an 800-volt electrical architecture, allowing charging times as low as 18 minutes on a 350kW connector.

The future

Hyundai has several electric models in the pipeline for the coming years, confirmed and otherwise.

Ioniq 7

The Ioniq 7 is set to continue Hyundai’s range of unconventionally-shaped electric cars, taking a different approach to its huge and more conventionally-shaped Kia EV9 relation.

Expect a three-row SUV with more coupe-like styling as previewed on the Concept Seven which was shown as far back as 2021. The Ioniq 7 is expected to break cover in 2024.

More affordable Hyundai electric cars

Hyundai’s sister brand, Kia, has recently shown a range of more affordable electric cars based on a 400-volt version of the e-GMP architecture. Consisting of everything from a small hatch or crossover (Kia EV2) to a mid-size SUV (Kia EV5) expect to see Hyundai equivalents sooner rather than later.

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