Hyundai has just announced relatively minor changes to its Ioniq lineup for the new 2019 model year in the United States market and will continue the EV variant’s 28 kWh battery pack and 124 mile driving range.
The move comes despite long-standing speculation in media reports that the Ioniq EV could receive a battery upgrade to boost its range to 200 miles or beyond.
The rumors were boosted by a recent sales bulletin to its dealers that ended ordering of the 2018 Ioniq Electric ahead of schedule due, it said, to a temporary battery shortage.
Hyundai had previously announced similar plans for the Korean market on March 22.
In the new announcement, Hyundai said the 2019 model year brings improvements to active safety features, and enhanced voice-recognition.
The car will now be available with what Hyundai calls “Driver Attention Alert” and an automatic High Beam Assist feature which will presumably switch to low beam headlights when it senses oncoming traffic. These features may only be available on the Ioniq Electric’s Limited trim — the announcement does not say.
Built-in GPS navigation has been enhanced with new “natural-language, server-based voice-recognition technology with a new POI-search database supported by HERE™ that includes charging station locations for driver convenience”.
According to Hyundai, 2019 Ioniq models equipped with Blue Link will offer complimentary three-year Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and guidance services.
“Owners of Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid and Electric will also be able to manage and monitor their car’s charging schedule remotely via the Blue Link® smartphone app or simply ask Alexa or Google to start and stop charging as needed”, according to the press release.
Other minor changes are being made for the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Ioniq. For example, Automatic Emergency Braking and Smart Cruise Control will be standard on the SEL trim.
No pricing updates for 2019 were released.
Rumors that the Ioniq Electric would someday feature a 200+ mile range are often sourced to a statement in 2016 by Ahn Byung-ki, director of Hyundai’s eco-vehicle performance group. Automotive News quoted him as having told reporters at the company’s Ann Arbor, Michigan technical center back in 2016 that “124 [miles] is not enough [for the Ioniq Electric], and we have a plan to extend that to more than 200 by 2018.”