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Why Hyundai Kona Electric will stick around despite the potential for more affordable 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 variants in the near future

Hyundai's Kona EV will live on as the brand sees a place for both it and the more affordable Ioniq 5 in its range.

Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 mid-size SUV launches in Australia in one highly specified variant, with a 72.6kWh battery and an MSRP starting from $71,900.

While this version and its WLTP-rated range of up to 451km has instantly been a hit with Australian buyers, selling out of the first allocation in less than three hours, the brand left room for the 58kWh version (370km range) and more basic variants to bring the price even further down.

This should help Hyundai’s first dedicated EV put price pressure on key rivals like the Tesla Model 3 (from $59,900) and Polestar 2 (from $59,900).

The question for Hyundai’s line-up, though, is where does that leave the Kona Electric? The small SUV has had its number of variants expanded recently to include a new Standard Range variant (305km range) with a leaner price of $54,500, down from the Extended Range version’s price tag of $60,500 (484km range).

While supply constraints are currently limiting the Ioniq 5’s line-up to the single variant in Australia for now, if a 58kWh Ioniq 5 arrives, will it still leave room in Hyundai’s line-up for the Kona Electric? We put the question to Hyundai’s local team at the Ioniq 5’s local launch.

“There is still a good place for Kona EV, given it has a longer range than the [58kWh] version of the Ioniq 5 – and we think they each have a buyer type, the Kona EV is much smaller,” explained Hyundai Australia’s product planning boss, Chris Saltapidas.

The Ioniq 5 could come down significantly in price from its flagship launch variant. The Ioniq 5 could come down significantly in price from its flagship launch variant.

So, you can expect the Kona EV to stick around for some time yet, we would hope with further price reductions like the ones we saw in August.

The brand’s representatives wouldn’t comment on whether there would be a new Kona Electric after the current model (which is already more than halfway through its life cycle), or whether it would be replaced by another potentially smaller Ioniq model.

When asked if the e-GMP platform had flexibility to shrink to Kona size or even smaller, Hyundai Australia’s product development boss, Andrew Tuitahi, said it was simply too early to say for now, but interestingly, all Ioniq-branded models would use the e-GMP platform going forward.

Hyundai-branded cars in the future will use existing combustion platforms with varying degrees of electrification, and Mr Tuitahi reaffirmed the brand had no plan to spin Ioniq off into a separate marque as it’s done with the Genesis luxury brand, with it remaining simply a sub-brand under the Hyundai banner.

The next Ioniq model will be the Ioniq 6 sedan, likely to be revealed next year, and it will be followed by the Ioniq 7 large SUV, which will be a fully electric take on the Santa Fe or Palisade large SUV formula. The Genesis GV60 and Kia’s EV6, both on the same underpinnings and dimensionally similar to the Ioniq 5, will launch in the first half of next year.