Hyundai unveiled its new Ioniq 6, a sedan that it says will deliver a range comparable to the Tesla Model 3, posing a direct challenge to the best-selling battery-electric sedan on the market.

The Ioniq 6 – the successor to Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 SUV and the second model in its Ioniq EV sub-brand – will travel 610 kilometers (379 miles) on a fully charged battery, based on the European WLTP test cycle. That’s more than 602 kilometers under the WLTP test cycle for the Model 3 Long Range.

That’s a significant achievement, considering Tesla has long served as the benchmark for EV range.

“While many competing EVs have come closer to Tesla’s range ratings, relatively few have matched or surpassed it,” said Ed Kim, AutoPacific president and chief analyst.

The Korean automaker, which has set itself an ambitious goal of becoming a top three EV provider in the US by 2026, hopes the one-two punch of its lineup will give it a chance to challenge Tesla for the sales crown. in the fledgling EV market.

The Tesla Model 3 is the second-largest-selling electric vehicle in the US after the small SUV Tesla Model Y. In fifth place is the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which serves a growing consumer demand for battery-electric SUVs.

However, sedans have been a soft spot for auto sales in recent years, making Hyundai’s choice seem counterintuitive. But analysts say battery-electric sedans like the Ioniq 6 and Polestar 2, which also aim to dethrone the Model 3, are playing a strategic role in the EV market, especially for new buyers.

“Because sedans are generally priced significantly lower than their SUV counterparts, they represent a more affordable way to get into EVs,” Kim said. “Assuming the price of Hyundai’s new sedan undercuts the $40,000 IONIQ 5, it could be a real value proposition for EV shoppers.”

Like the Ioniq 5, Hyundai’s new all-electric sedan will be built on its Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), an 800-volt electric architecture that allows faster charging than similarly priced EVs except Tesla’s.

Hyundai has invested aggressively in expanding its Ioniq portfolio as it strives to move from an entry-level affordable car maker to a global premium EV brand known for bold design. The automaker has pledged to spend more than $10 billion in the US by 2025 developing technology for electric and autonomous vehicles and mobility applications for robotics.

More than half of that investment will fund a new EV and battery plant in Georgia, where Hyundai plans to build at least some of the 23 electric vehicles it plans to roll out by 2025, such as the three-wheel Ioniq 7 SUV. rows, an important segment for drivers with large families. The Ioniq 6 is being built in South Korea.

The Ioniq 5, which won the World Car Awards this spring, showed that Hyundai is daring with its EV design. That theme continues with the domed Ioniq 6, whose low hood and high roof make it more rounded than most cars, said SangYup Lee, head of Hyundai Global Design Center. Its dimensions create a cocoon-like, high-ceilinged cabin where occupants can relax or work.

A 64-color ambient lighting system helps “create a conscious space that restores mental energy and enhances inspiration,” Lee said.

Ioniq 6 will go on sale in the US early next year. The price has not been disclosed.

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