As electric-car range moves above the 100-mile mark in EPA ratings, one of the more interesting models to watch will be the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric.
That car uses essentially the same 28-kilowatt-hour battery pack as the low-volume Kia Soul EV, a blocky tall wagon that’s rated at 93 miles.
Can the slimmer, sleeker Ioniq Electric match or beat the latest 2016 Nissan Leaf, rated at 107 miles?
According to Hyundai engineer Kim Choong, the answer is yes: the Ioniq electric car is expected to achieve a U.S. range rating of 110 miles.
That affirmation comes from Automotive News reporter Hans Greimel, who attended the South Korean debut of the 2017 Ioniq range at Hyundai’s technology center in Seogwipo.
A year or so from now, the Ioniq Electric will join the latest Leaf and also an updated 2017 BMW i3 with ranges over 100 miles.
Of course, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV has been promised to deliver a 200-mile rating, which will reset the bar—as will the Tesla Model 3, also with a 200-mile promise, that is to be unveiled on March 31.
Other details about the Ioniq Electric that emerged from the debut include paddle shifters that let drivers choose from one of four levels of regenerative braking.
That feature pioneered on the low-volume Cadillac ELR, and was extended to the 2016 Chevy Volt; it will also be used on the Bolt EV.
The same effect can be achieved in the Nissan Leaf by shifting into the “B” or low range, which increases regeneration.
The BMW i3, on the other hand, comes standard with regenerative braking that’s strong enough to bring the car to a complete stop when the driver lifts off the accelerator.
Hyundai and its sister company Kia together have aggressive plans to become the world’s second highest-volume maker of green cars by 2020, after Toyota.
Each company now offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of their high-volume mid-size sedans, the Sonata and Optima respectively.
Kia has the Soul EV, and Hyundai has the low-volume Tucson Fuel Cell and the upcoming Ioniq range, which will include Hybrid, Plug-In (hybrid), and Electric versions.
Doing better on fuel economy in the Ioniq Hybrid than the Prius, Hyundai senior vice-president Ki-Sang Lee told reporter Greimel, “has really big meaning to me.”