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What would the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq 5 have to cost to become Australia's first real mainstream electric car?

Does the Ioniq 5 have the right combination of range and price to be the right EV for many Australians?

Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 mid-size electric SUV has created quite a buzz with its retro-inspired styling, impressive specs, and dedicated EV underpinnings, but the only thing missing ahead of its 2021 Australian launch is the most crucial factor: price.

We know the main turn-off for Australian consumers when it comes to electric motoring is the associated pricetag, and promised affordable options in the past have either fallen short on range for our vast land (MG ZS EV and Nissan Leaf with their sub-300km real-world range), or by the time all the taxes and duties are added up, turned out not to be so cheap after all (Tesla Model 3 which starts from $71,996 drive-away).

So, can Hyundai’s ambitious new EV mid-sizer really have a crack at the market on both the range and price front?

As news comes in of the Ioniq 5 amassing over 38,000 pre-orders in its home market of South Korea (so many, in fact, that The Korea Times expects a left-hand-drive production bottleneck), we decided to take a look.

The Ioniq 5 is proving ridiculously popular in its South Korean home market, although its government offers significant EV subsidies. The Ioniq 5 is proving ridiculously popular in its South Korean home market, although its government offers significant EV subsidies.

Hyundai’s Kona electric starts locally from $60,740 before on-road costs for the Elite, and ranges up to $65,290 for the Highlander. So, it’s fair to assume that the larger Ioniq 5’s price-range will sit somewhere above this. For more context, the current base Ioniq 5 Exclusive RWD in Korea costs from the equivalent of A$59,403 before local taxes and benefits, while the base model Kona electric starts from the equivalent of roughly A$53,600. If you allow for a similar increase to account for the necessary landing costs, you end up with an estimated local price of around A$71,000.

This would place the Ioniq 5 on par with base rear-wheel drive versions of the Tesla Model 3 and well under the luxury car tax threshold, however, the initial batch of cars for Korea appear to be exclusively available with the larger 72.6kWh battery (good for a Model 3-matching estimated range of 470km WLTP).

We also know Australia is set to receive a more basic version of the Ioniq 5 with a 58kWh battery in rear-drive configuration. Range for this model has yet to be revealed but suffice to say it should out-do the less-than-300km range offered by its more affordable rivals.

Before-tax pricing has yet to be revealed for this car, even in Korea, but if you extrapolate the numbers down from our rough estimate of the 72.6kWh version you get a much more favourable number, perhaps starting somewhere close to the low- or mid-$60k region, matching that of the Kona electric variants.

The Ioniq 5's new e-GMP all-electric underpinnings allow for versatile cabin arrangements. The Ioniq 5's new e-GMP all-electric underpinnings allow for versatile cabin arrangements.

So, the base Ioniq 5 looks set to be slightly cheaper than a base Model 3, which we know is the best selling EV in Australia (despite Tesla not revealing exact sales figures), it looks to offer more practicality in a larger package with slightly more range and power than a similarly-priced version of the Kona electric, and it’s set to be a technology leader for the brand in terms of interior amenities and 800-volt charging.

If it did start from the mid-$60,000 region, would it be enough to win the hearts of more Australian buyers to go electric? Hyundai promises the astronomical pre-orders for this car in its Korean domestic market (spurned on by a local subsidy) won’t affect its Q3 2021 Australian launch window, so stay tuned later in the year to find out.