The issue first came to light in a question from a reader.
It boiled down to this: “What’s going on with the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and why can’t I get one at my local dealer in California?”
The e-mail even included a link to a Korean business-news article, which is unusual for reader queries.
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The story in Business Korea, published three weeks ago, suggested that a shortage of lithium-ion battery cells was holding up production of the entire lineup of Ioniq models.
That lineup, remember, already consists of hybrid and battery-electric versions of the five-door small hatchback.
An Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid variant will be the third and last of the trio, arriving in the U.S. market late this year.
We reached out to Hyundai Motors America for comment. After investigating with their South Korean colleagues, company officials contradicted the claims in the report.
Instead, they said, the shortages reflected unexpectedly strong demand for the Ioniq in multiple markets across the globe.
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“We’ve seen nothing to indicate any shortage,” said Jim Trainor, acting public-relations director at HMA. “I don’t know how that started; [Hyundai in Korea] can’t find anything to support it.”
And, he added, “we’re working to get more Hybrids and Electrics as both are proving quite popular.”
2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Limited, Catskill Mountains, NY, May 2017
“Demand is heavy globally,” confirmed Derek Joyce, manager of product public relations at HMA.
The Ioniq is the first vehicle line in the world to be offered not only as a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, but also as a battery-electric model.
Its hybrid version edges out the current Prius on EPA-rated fuel economy: the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue gets a 58-mpg combined rating, while the slightly larger Prius Two Eco comes in at 56 mpg.
Similarly, the Ioniq Electric, rated at 125 miles of electric range by the EPA, has the highest energy efficiency of any vehicle sold in the U.S. this year: 136 MPGe, edging out the BMW i3 that has held that title since 2014.