Hyundai has official plans to bring an affordable, entry-level electric vehicle to market in Europe, though it's not going to happen right away. The brand recently launched its popular Ioniq 5 crossover and has plans to follow it with multiple fully electric vehicles going forward.
Hyundai and Kia have both dipped their toes in electrification in the past, and more affordable "entry-level" models have been available for some time. We're talking about lhe likes the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Soul EV, and Kia Niro EV. However, the Ioniq 5 – as well as the Kia EV6 – are the brands' first purpose-built electric cars that ride on a global platform specifically developed for EVs.
While the Ioniq 5 crossover is a Tesla Model Y rival, Hyundai will bring the Ioniq 6 sedan to market next, which will compete with the Tesla Model 3. In just a few years, the South Korean brand aims to launch the Ioniq 7 three-row SUV. There are currently few fully electric three-row SUVs available. Much like electric pickup trucks, it's a market that deserves to be addressed by electric car makers, sooner rather than later.
In addition to Hyundai's growing list of compelling EVs that will compete with the likes of Tesla, Ford, and others, the brand also sees the importance of value-oriented options, especially for Europe. Hyundai and Kia have been the value leaders in the industry for years, though they've made it clear that's not necessarily the focus with lineups like that of the series of higher-end Ioniqs and Genesis models coming to market now and into the future.
With all of that said, according to Hyundai Motor Europe marketing chief Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, the brand has committed to bringing an all-electric entry-level car to market in Europe down the road. However, Hofmann was clear that the "battery-powered minicar" is going to take some time to develop into a version that can go into production.
Small cars are popular in Europe, and automakers like Volkswagen Group aim to bank on this fact as they plan their future EV lineups. Automotive News Europe reports that VW Group is targeting starting prices at around €20,000 (~$20,500) for entry-level electric cars from Cupra, Skoda, Volkswagen, and other brands under its umbrella.
According to Hofman, Hyundai is aiming for a similar starting price once it's ready to bring its affordable mini EV to market. He said at an Automotive News Europe Congress in Prague
“Everybody in the industry knows the target of this kind of vehicle is 20,000 euros."
Tesla has talked of a more affordable entry-level car for the future as well, though, much like its Cybertruck, that project continues to get pushed back. Meanwhile, GM CEO Mary Barra continues to reiterate that General Motors is planning to beat Tesla on price by bringing several affordable EVs to market in the near future.
Hofman added that, by 2030, Hyundai will have launched 11 fully electric vehicles, and that's in addition to the Ioniq 5. The Ioniq 6 sedan is set to arrive in Europe prior to the end of 2022, but it won't be available in most markets until the beginning of 2023, or later.
Hofman also explained that the Ioniq 7 is geared more toward the US since many people on our shores tend to be fans of larger vehicles. However, some EV fans would likely argue that an affordable EV minicar might sell quite well in the States.