Automaker also announces new car sharing program
Hyundai is currently testing autonomous versions of its Ioniq electrified compact, the automaker announced at an event leading up to the Los Angeles auto show. It also outlined plans for a hassle-free buying program and free car sharing program for the Ioniq.
After introducing an autonomous Tucson Fuel Cell, Hyundai’s next self-driving project involves the Ioniq. It has a LiDAR system hidden discreetly in its front bumper, and is also equipped with smart cruise control forward facing radar, a three-camera array, GPS antenna, blind spot detection radar, and high-def mapping data to help detect the position of other vehicles and objects on the road. Hyundai is currently working on its own autonomous vehicle operating system that uses less computing power than other systems, an effort the automaker hopes will reduce costs and make autonomous tech more affordable for consumers.
Hyundai is now tooling around in three autonomous Ioniq vehicles at its research and development center in Namyang, South Korea. Come January, Hyundai will bring two self-driving Ioniqs to Las Vegas where they will drive autonomously down the streets just in time for the Consumer Electronics Show.
The automaker also announced a haggle-free way to buy an Ioniq EV online. Under the Ioniq Unlimited program, buyers can select their vehicle, choose a 24- or 36-month lease term, and head to their local dealership to complete the purchase. The monthly payments are all-inclusive, accounting for unlimited mileage, electric charging costs, scheduled maintenance, and registration. The program begins in early 2017.
As another way to get as many customers into the new Ioniq as possible, the automaker is offering drivers around Los Angeles free short-term rentals. Starting early next year, consumers can book an Ioniq EV through the WaiveCar app for up two hours at no charge. Why is it free? Because the vehicles are wrapped in advertising that offsets the costs. In the first half of next year, there will be 150 Ioniqs up for grabs around L.A., and the service will expand to three additional cities by the end of 2017.
The Hyundai Ioniq is available in traditional hybrid, full electric, or plug-in hybrid form. The first two versions are expected to arrive this winter, while the plug-in hybrid won’t make its way to market until next summer.
Hyundai is far from the only automaker to commit to alternative mobility solutions. Automakers including GM, Volkswagen, and Toyota have thrown their hats into the ring, partnering with ride sharing companies to give consumers more options and to reduce congestion. BMW has launched ReachNow, a program that allows customers to book short-term or long-term rentals in an i3, 3 Series, or Mini Cooper vehicle.