Hyundai unveils new Ioniq 6 sedan as Tesla Model 3 competitor

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Hyundai has unveiled its new Ioniq 6, a sedan it says will have a range on par with the Tesla Model 3, in a direct challenge to the best-selling battery-powered sedan on the market.

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Ionic 6 — the sequel to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV and the second model in its Ioniq EV sub-brand — will cover 610 kilometers (379 miles) on a fully charged battery, based on the European WLTP test cycle. This exceeds 602 kilometers in the WLTP test cycle for the Model 3 Long Range.

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This is a significant achievement considering that Tesla has long served as the benchmark for the electric vehicle range.

“While many competing electric vehicles approach Tesla’s range figures, relatively few match or exceed them,” said Ed Kim, AutoPacific president and chief analyst.

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The Korean automaker, which has set an ambitious goal of being one of the top three U.S. electric vehicle suppliers by 2026, is hoping a one-two bump of its lineup will give it a chance to challenge Tesla for the sales crown in the nascent electric vehicle market.

The Tesla Model 3 is the second best-selling electric vehicle in the US behind the Tesla Model Y small SUV. Fifth is the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which caters to growing consumer demand for battery-electric SUVs.

However, sedans have been a weak point in car sales over the past few years, making Hyundai’s choice potentially counterintuitive. But analysts say electric sedans like the Ioniq 6 and Polar Star 2which also aims to dethrone the Model 3, plays a strategic role in the electric vehicle market, especially for new buyers.

“Because sedans tend to cost significantly less than their SUV counterparts, they represent a more affordable way to go electric,” Kim said. “Assuming the new Hyundai sedan is priced below the $40,000 IONIQ 5, this could be a real value proposition for EV buyers.”

Like the Ioniq 5, Hyundai’s new all-electric sedan will be built on Electric’s Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), an 800-volt electrical architecture that enables faster charging than comparable-priced EVs, with the exception of Tesla EVs.

Hyundai is actively investing in expanding the Ioniq portfolio, aiming to transform itself from an affordable entry-level car manufacturer to a leading global electric vehicle brand known for its bold design. The automaker promised spend over $10 billion in the US by 2025 to develop technologies for electric and autonomous vehicles and mobile applications for robotics.

More than half of these investments will go to finance new electric vehicle plant and battery plant in Georgia, where Hyundai plans to build at least some of the 23 electric vehicles it plans to launch by 2025, such as the Ioniq 7 three-row SUV, an important segment for drivers with large families. Ioniq 6 will be produced in South Korea.

Ioniq 5 conquered World Automotive Awards showed this spring that Hyundai is ready to be bold with the design of its electric car. That theme continues with the domed Ioniq 6, whose low hood and high roof make it more curved than most cars, said Sang Yup Lee, head of the Hyundai Global Design Center. The dimensions make it possible to create a cocoon-like cabin with high ceilings, where passengers can relax or work.

The 64-color ambient lighting system helps “create a conscious space that rejuvenates mental energy and enhances inspiration,” Li said.

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

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