Hyundai relaunches Ioniq as a standalone EV brand

In a surprising turn of events, South Korean automaker Hyundai is relaunching the Ioniq as an EV brand. Back in 2015, Hyundai did the same thing with Genesis and rebranded the name from a sporty, two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe into a proper luxury brand to compete with Lexus and prime German marquees.

"The IONIQ brand will change the paradigm of EV customer experience," said Wonhong Cho, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer of Hyundai Motor Company. "With a new emphasis on connected living, we will offer electrified experiences integral to an eco-friendly lifestyle."

Does this mean the current Ioniq hatchback is long gone? Hard to say, but we do know it won't be part of Hyundai's newest Ioniq EV offensive. According to the carmaker, it will launch three new Ioniq electric cars, all of which are slated to debut in the next four years – and this doesn't include the existing Ioniq hatchback.

It starts with Ioniq 5. First seen at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show as the Hyundai 45 Concept, the Ioniq 5 is a wedge-shaped crossover. It pays homage to the Hyundai's first car – the Hyundai Pony – and was conceived to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Hyundai's first-ever car. Back in April, Hyundai was earmarking the 45 for production, and it will do so at a record pace. You can expect the Ioniq 5 to arrive next year.

Meanwhile, the Ioniq 5 will be joined by Ioniq 6 in early 2022. Similar to Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 is also based on a concept car, specifically Hyundai's Prophecy Concept. The concept is a four-door electric luxury sedan and is meant to go head-to-head with the Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model S, and Audi e-tron GT to name a few. Unlike the Ioniq 5, the 6 has a sleek and fluid shape in concept form.

Of course, no EV lineup is complete without a large SUV and Hyundai has it covered with the Ioniq 7. Due to arrive in 2024, the 7 is not based on any Hyundai concept car. All three Ioniq models will be riding on Hyundai's E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform), but the automaker has plans of using Canoo's skateboard platform in the future.

With plans to sell at least 1 million battery-electric vehicles by 2025, the Ioniq brand has a lot of catching up to do. According to Hyundai, Ioniq EVs will be sold alongside the carmaker's gasoline-powered models and will not require separate dealerships like Genesis.