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Key Points:
  • Hyundai revealed its first fully electric concept in 1991, a sedan that ran off a lead-acid battery.
  • The Ioniq 6, which is set to become Tesla’s rival in 2022, is a mid-sized sedan expected to have 321 horsepower as a standard long-range model, similar to the Ioniq 5.
  • The new Tesla Model 3 will feature a 4680 NCM, which is capable of 5 times the power and allows it to extend its range far beyond its competitors.

In 2008, Tesla released the Roadster. It was capable of 245 miles on a single charge and could reach top speeds of 125 mph. These numbers were unimaginable for an electric vehicle at the time, and the company then dominated the market for nearly a decade.

However, many companies started to enter the market at the top of the 2010s. We saw names such as Ford, GM, and BMW release fully electric models of their own. One company, however, quietly surged to become Tesla’s rival. Continue reading to learn more about Hyundai, the car manufacturer that snuck into the top seat of the EV industry.

Hyundai: Tesla’s Biggest Rival

While large American companies such as Ford and Chevrolet tend to overshadow Hyundai, it’s hard to ignore its international legacy. Founded in 1967, the South Korean automaker is renowned around the world. And with majority ownership in Kia and full ownership in progressive companies Genesis and Ioniq, Hyundai is poised to make a mark in the electric vehicle industry.

While Telsa tends to own the EV market currently, Hyundai isn’t new to the technology. The auto manufacturer revealed its first fully electric concept in 1991, a sedan that ran off a lead-acid battery. While the original model only had a range of 44 miles on a single charge, the company continued to develop the concept throughout the 90s. Before pivoting into hybrid technology, Hyundai showcased a pure EV capable of 242 miles of range and a top speed of 87 mph (sorry Marty McFly). 

The South Korean auto company found great success with its hybrid models using lithium-polymer batteries. So when Hyundai announced Ioniq as its exclusive EV company in 2020, they had all the experience needed to face off with Tesla. It didn’t take long for the company to show its skills; let’s take a look at Hyundai’s most popular electric vehicles.

Ioniq 5: Hyundai’s Most Successful EV

Tesla's rival
The Ioniq 5 was the car of the year in 2021 and was the most popular EV sold in Europe.


When Hyundai revealed the Ioniq 5 in 2021, it shook the EV world. The electric crossover featured up to 321 horsepower and a top speed of 115, matching that of the Ford Mach-E. The Ioniq 5 became the 2021 car of the year practically overnight as it was the most popular EV sold in Europe.

While its design was enough to blow critics and consumers away, the Iioniq 5 found immense favor with the public for its modular platform. The Hyundai Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) features a traction motor that integrates the motor, inverter, and transmission into a single unit, resulting in a system that is 10% more efficient than what is typically seen in today’s EVs. 

The E-GMP also includes multi-tiered fast charging. At 200 V, owners can charge their batteries to 80% in 18 minutes. For even faster charging, however, owners can connect to an even higher voltage of 800 V to add 62 miles of range in 5 minutes. In an industry that holds range and charge time at the highest importance, this shoots the Ioniq 5 right to the top of the list.

Ioniq 6: Tesla’s Rival of 2022

Tesla's rival
Gravity Gold Matte Hyundai IONIQ 6 CE Electric sedan in a showroom.

©By Damian B Oh – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=121311678 – License

With the incredible success of Hyundai’s first modern electric vehicle, all eyes are on the Ioniq 6, which is set to become Tesla’s rival in 2022. The mid-sized sedan is expected to have 321 horsepower as a standard long-range model, similar to the Ioniq 5. This suggests it could feature even more power when it releases an extra-long-range design.

While the Ioniq 6 claims specs similar to many of the top models in the industry, it separates itself with its cultural influence. The auto company is committed to ethical uniqueness, utilizing eco-friendly materials in as many design aspects as possible. Its sleek and efficient design coupled with environmental mindfulness sets itself apart from the competition.

What is Tesla Doing to Compete?

Elon Musk recognizes the Ioniq 6’s prominence and isn’t sitting idly by riding on the coattails of his company’s initial success. The Tesla Model 3 uses a couple of technological innovations to stay ahead of the game. 

While most auto manufacturers were creating their first designs, Tesla was improving its battery technology. We see most EVs on the market using a standard NCA lithium-ion battery (including tesla). The new Tesla Model 3 will feature a 4680 NCM, which is capable of 5 times the power and allows it to extend its range far beyond its competitors.

However, Musk’s auto company is also diversifying its Model 3 batteries. For customers that typically drive short distances, such as in and around cities, Tesla is releasing Model 3s with LFP batteries. While they feature a limited range, they are much easier to manufacture. This drops the price of an EV which is considered top of the line, making it even more accessible to the public.

Hyundai’s other EVs

Alongside the Ioniq 5 and 6, Hyundai announced the Ioniq 7, a full-size SUV expected to release in 2024. While the electric vehicle is still a concept, we can expect it to run on the sophisticated E-GMP that its predecessors use. The concept model focuses on interior utilization, introducing a full couch and swivel seats. 

While we wait for the Ioniq 7, Hyundai already has a sport utility EV on the market. The KONA Electric has an acceptable range and speed but doesn’t use the E-GMP. While this means it has a slower charge time and a slightly outdated battery, it still functions as a fully-electric vehicle that feels comfortable to drive.

Hyundai also has some of the most efficient hybrid models on the market. With over 30 years of experience, the company has four hybrid vehicles for sale. These include:

  • Hyundai Tuscon
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai’s Electric Vehicles: Side by Side Comparison

Ioniq 5Ioniq 6KONA ElectricTesla Model 3
Release Date2021202220182017
Range(up to) 299 miles380 (estimated)258 miles272 miles
Top Speed115 mph115 mph104 mph140 mph
0-605.1 s5.1 s7.9 s5.8 s
Charge Speed (to 80%)At-home: 6.5-8.5 hrsCharge station: 18 minN/AAt-home: 9 hrs
Charge Station: 47 min
At-Home: 8.5-10 hrs
Supercharger: 15 min
MSRP$54,500$48,000 (estimated)$34,000$46,490
Horsepower321 hp321 hp201 hp283 hp
Torque446 lb-ft446 lb-ft291 lb-ft302 lb-ft
Weight4,662 lbs4,486 lbs3,715 lbs3,552 lbs
Table Comparing Hyundai’s fully electric models to Tesla’s newest model.

Tesla’s Rival: Further Reading

While Hyundai is making a claim for Tesla’s rival, the electric vehicle industry is incredibly competitive. From innovative upstarts to the world’s oldest brands, everyone is racing onto the scene. For more on electric vehicles and the companies influencing them, check out these articles.

Up Next…

Is Hyundai Quietly Becoming the Next Tesla With These EVs? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which cars are better than Tesla?

With auto manufacturers stepping up their EV game, some cars that are better than Tesla in particular areas have been released. Some prominent models include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Iconiq 5, and the Kia EV6.

Is Hyundai making a new sports car?

Hyundai is releasing the Iconiq 6 at the end of 2022. While it isn’t a sports car, its design includes sleek features that mimic those of one.

Is Hyundai Ioniq electric good?

The Iconiq series features Hyundai’s exclusive Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which includes state-of-the-art motors and batteries. The vehicle is capable of up to 299 miles of range and can charge up to 80% in less than 18 minutes.

Who is Tesla’s biggest competitor?

Tesla’s biggest competitors include Ford, GM, and Volkswagen. The Iconiq 5 dominated the European market, however.

Can you charge Ioniq 5 at Tesla supercharger?

Can you charge Ioniq 5 at Tesla supercharger?

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More from History-Computer

  • EV Database Available here: https://ev-database.org/car/1204/Hyundai-Kona-Electric-64-kWh
  • Hyundai USA Available here: https://www.hyundaiusa.com/us/en/vehicles/kona-electric/compare-specs
  • Hyundai Available here: https://www.hyundai.com/eu/models/kona-electric/features.html
  • Barras Car Centre Available here: https://barrascarcentre.co.uk/hyundai-celebrates-30-years-of-innovations-in-eco-mobility/
  • Bloomberg Available here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-14/hyundai-unveils-ioniq-6-in-push-to-challenge-tesla-and-the-rest