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Car and Driver: Hyundai’s Triple Threat: New Ioniq to Debut As EV, PHEV, and Hybrid

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Whether a hybrid or EV should be sold as a dedicated model or as a variant is a marketing debate, less so an engineering problem. Tesla, BMW, Nissan, and General Motors have taken the dedicated path, while Ford, Mercedes, Honda, and Toyota have electrified their existing cars. Hyundai has been in the latter camp with its Sonata hybrid and plug-in hybrid, but will be rolling out a dedicated green car with the new Ioniq.



The Korean automaker’s first all-electric car, which appears to be a compact notchback sedan, will also be a plug-in hybrid and a conventional gas-electric hybrid, essentially completing the EV trifecta with a single model. It’ll debut in January but curiously not at the Detroit auto show. Hyundai will unveil the Ioniq in Korea and then showcase it at Geneva and New York months later. It’s not a concept, although we only know the all-electric Ioniq will use lithium-ion cells, which is an obvious inclusion for any new electric car.


Other vehicles that offer green-powertrain trios include the Ford Fusion (gas engine, hybrid, plug-in hybrid), the Honda Civic (gas, hybrid, natural gas—although the latter two have been discontinued), and the Chevrolet Spark (gas and all-electric for the U.S., plus a diesel for Europe). Like Ford, Hyundai sells its Sonata with a regular gasoline engine, a hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid. On the higher end, the gas/diesel Mercedes GLC and all-electric Audi Q6 will each add plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell versions to their roster.


Once we see specs, we’ll have a better idea of how earth-shattering the tri-electrified Hyundai Ioniq really is. Once also wonders: If fuel prices stay low and demand for hybrids and EVs remains soft, could the Ioniq find itself with a conventional gasoline engine?


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