The Prius-fighting 2017 Hyundai Ioniq, which starts at a hybrid version and works its way up to fully electric, debuted last month at the New York International Auto Show.
“Ioniq will attract an entirely new group of eco- and efficiency-oriented buyers in the U.S. market,” Hyundai America corporate and product planning Vice President Mike O’Brien said in a statement. “With outstanding powertrain flexibility, design, connectivity, and advanced technologies, Ioniq meets the needs of a large and growing group of buyers needing a highly efficient, low-emissions vehicle without compromise to their daily lifestyles.”
But for collision repairers, the lesson isn’t the powertrain — though you better know which version you’re working on and the SOP for doing so — it’s the body keeping the car light enough to handle a non-traditional combustion engine.
“Ioniq sought significant weight reduction targets without compromising fun-to-drive and comfort characteristics,” the OEM wrote in a news release March 23.
Hyundai built the Ioniq hood, tailgate, bumper beams and parts of the suspension out of aluminum, calling it 45 percent lighter than steel for those applications.
The rest of the car has more than 50 percent of advanced-high-strength steel, some of which is probably really ultra-high-strength steel based on where it’s located in diagrams Hyundai Global provided in January and the graphic’s reference to “hot-stamping.”
“Ioniq’s light-yet-rigid body is the result of advanced design, construction methods and materials,” the OEM wrote. “Featuring 53 percent Advanced High Strength Steel, the chassis benefits from superior rigidity for responsive handling and safety, with high impact-energy absorption and minimized cabin distortion to protect passengers in the event of a collision.”
The OEM also used 475 feet — far more than a football field — of advanced structural adhesives, “simultaneously yielding both light-weighting and rigidity benefits.”
Unfortunately, Hyundai doesn’t really share OEM collision repair information with the U.S., though its subsidiary Kia does, according to I-CAR.
Shops working on the Ioniq might have to rely on I-CAR and its best practices for assistance — for example, if you don’t know what the steel is, don’t section — though perhaps Hyundai’s introduction of a certification program will help spur that material to appear in America.