Hyundai and Kia have become partners in IONITY, joining BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen Group – including Porsche – in its mission to provide a robust fast charging network across Europe.
It's a bit of a no-brainer for the two brands which constitute Hyundai Motor Group. Both Hyundai and Kia are aspirational and have, for a long time, been working hard to elevate their products to sit alongside those from the likes of Volkswagen and BMW. Being part of IONITY puts them in direct parity with these brands.
There is a far more practical reason why IONITY was an obvious move for Hyundai Motor Group; Hyundai and Kia already have a range of popular EV and PHEV cars, and have clear development plans that makes being part of IONITY strategically sensible.
In the immediate instance, owners of cars like the Kia e-Niro and its sister car, the Hyundai Kona Electric, will have access to a rapidly growing network of chargers. Already, IONITY has nearly 140 charging stations across the continent with 50 under construction. By 2020, IONITY is expanding its network to 400 charging stations with a total of 1200 chargers – equating to one site per 75 miles of motorway throughout the region.
The wider strategic benefit for Hyundai and Kia is that starting in 2021, the brands' EVs will be equipped with 800 volt, CCS charging systems so that they can accept an input of up to 350kW. IONITY is one of the very few charging providers to be rolling out ultra-fast chargers capable of delivering this power, with several already online in the UK and more up-and-running in mainland Europe.
One of the challenges facing manufacturers when it comes to EVs is not only ensuring that the infrastructure is in place for their forthcoming models, but also that it is suitable for both the technology that those models will come with, and people's expectations. Across Hyundai and Kia, 44 eco-friendly models will be deployed by 2025 and being a part of IONITY future-proofs this product push.
“Our participation in this joint venture reaffirms the Group’s commitment to future electromobility,” said Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “I am confident that our work with IONITY will open a new era of high-power charging experiences, where charging will be seamless and easier than refuelling for our customers.”