Auto Tech

Hyundai set to launch first-of-its-kind electric car in 2016

The Ioniq should be the only production vehicle to offer electric, plug-in and standard hybrid configurations in the same body.

The Ioniq will debut in Korea next month, and it will head to the Geneva and New York auto shows in March.

Hyundai

Some people associate "ionic" with a Sharper Image desk fan that costs way too much money, but if Hyundai has its way, that name will soon conjure up images of the automaker's latest green vehicle. Set to debut early next year, the Ioniq promises versatility and efficiency while still being fun to drive.

"Our vision for future mobility focuses on choice, with a variety of powertrain options to suit customers' varied lifestyles," said Woong-Chul Yang, head of Hyundai's research and development center. Ioniq buyers will choose between full-electric, plug-in hybrid and traditional hybrid variants. This would be the first time that all three layouts are being sold in the same body.

Battery technology has not yet evolved to the point where its range can suit every driver on the road. Thus, the choice to retain some semblance of gasoline propulsion should only help the car's sales. For those on the fence between new and old, the plug-in variant will offer extended electric-only travel while still relying on a gas engine for additional charge or propulsion, depending on how the car is set up.

Details are awfully scant at the moment, but it won't be long until we see more than just the teaser image provided above.

Hyundai will unveil the Ioniq in January in Korea, and it will appear at both the Geneva and New York auto shows in March. The Ioniq should compete directly with Toyota's ubiquitous Prius, which is available in two of the Ioniq's three styles -- there is no pure EV solution for the Japanese green machine.