Korean carmaker Hyundai has announced it's launching a dedicated sub-brand called Ioniq for its electric vehicles. Ioniq previously referred to a single Hyundai model introduced in 2016 that was available as a hybrid or electric car. We've already seen two more modern Ioniq-branded vehicles, first teased as concepts, then confirmed as production models. And now the company is showing off a third, while also making the decision to let the Ioniq brand stand separately from its core brand which continues to make competitively priced, gas-burning compacts, sedans, and SUVs.
The Ioniq EVs are all being built on Hyundai's modular E-GMP platform that allows for fast-charing and variable battery cell counts, depending on the intended use case of the vehicle. The first of the three models will arrive in 2021. Called the Ioniq 5, it's a mid-sized CUV based on the concept 45 that was the first Ioniq to be shown off in late 2019, and the first to include the pixelated-cityscape-style head and tail light designs that'll be one of the visual mainstays of the Ioniq range.
Next up, there's the Ioniq 6 sedan, based on the pebble-like Prophecy that's slated for a 2022 release and, finally, there's the Ioniq 7, a large SUV scheduled for 2024. The really unique part? Though there's shared design language, all three vehicles look truly distinctive to a degree that's unprecedented in the auto sector.
Hyundai's ambitions — Hyundai announced its plans for the Ioniq marque by taking over the London Eye — the English capital city's giant Ferris wheel — with lighting and illuminated balloons that made it represent a gigantic Q. It's also said it plans to sell 1 million electrified vehicles and grab 10 percent of the EV market by 2025. BMW, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz have similar ambitions, as does every other automaker which has to watch Tesla race into pole position as the world's most valuable carmaker.
Going it alone — Spinning off its EV arm isn't exactly a controversial move for Hyundai to make. GM has been weighing up the potential benefits of turning its electrification efforts with the likes of Cadillac and Hummer into sub-brands, at least in part because of the enormous fundraising companies like Nikola and Fisker (who don't even have actual production models yet) have managed to secure. That sort of enthusiasm — and investment — hasn't been as forthcoming for legacy brands trying to pivot from combustion vehicles to battery-powered ones. Volvo, meanwhile, has bitten the bullet and created a sub-brand for its luxury electric cars called Polestar.
For now, Tesla needn't worry too much. It's got until next year before the first of what's set to be a glut of new EVs arrive on the market. By then, it'll have two new factories operational (one in Berlin, Germany, the other in Austin, Texas), a new battery, and a stronger foothold in China. You can be certain it's paying close attention to its rivals' though. Because just as it's gone from a minnow to a whale, it's not guaranteed it'll stay that way. Building cars and selling them for a profit is hard. If it wasn't, everyone would be doing it.