Hyundai launching all-electric brand, with three models on the way

Hyundai is launching a new brand dedicated to electric cars. As with the automaker’s Genesis luxury brand, the name comes from an existing model — the Ioniq hatchback. What was once a single model will now be an entire brand, with three electric cars scheduled to launch over the next four years.

Two of the three Ioniq models will be based on previous Hyundai concept cars. The first, the Ioniq 5, is due in 2021 and will be based on the Hyundai 45 concept. Unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 45 is a retro-looking hatchback inspired by the Hyundai Pony — the first car developed in-house by the automaker. The concept debuted on the 45th anniversary of the Pony’s unveiling, hence the name.

The Ioniq 5 will be followed in 2022 by the Ioniq 6, a sedan based on the Hyundai Prophecy concept, which debuted earlier this year. In stark contrast to the 45, the Prophecy has sleek, futuristic styling. That styling could transition to production, although it could get watered down, as is often the case with concept cars that get the green light for production. Two features unlikely for production are the Prophecy’s joystick controls and autonomous-driving system.

In 2024, Hyundai will add the Ioniq 7 to the lineup. This model isn’t based on an existing concept car, and Hyundai hasn’t offered much detail beyond confirming that it will be a “large SUV.” The Ioniq 7 can be glimpsed in a teaser image alongside the Hyundai 45/Ioniq 5 and Hyundai Prophecy/Ioniq 6, but the image doesn’t show much detail.

All three Ioniq models will be based on the same Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which will likely underpin EVs from Hyundai’s Genesis and Kia brands as well. Note that Hyundai also plans to use startup Canoo’s skateboard platform for at least one future electric car as well.

It’s unclear where this leaves the current Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, which is available with all-electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Hyundai plans to sell 1 million battery-electric vehicles by 2025, so it’s possible the Ioniq will remain in the mix, perhaps with a different name to avoid confusion with the new brand. In addition to battery-powered vehicles, Hyundai plans to continue with hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles like its Nexo SUV.

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