Hyundai’s mini electric car will cost just $20K, release in Europe only

That budget price point is a serious selling point, but Hyundai didn’t say if its mini EV is coming to the U.S.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Hyundai confirmed that it has plans to bring an affordable entry-level EV to Europe, according to Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, marketing chief for Hyundai Motor Europe. Hofmann spoke at the Automotive News Europe Congress, adding that the target price of this kind of vehicle is €20,000, or roughly $20,500.

It makes sense for Hyundai to bring an EV of this size to Europe first, considering there are already a bunch of successful mini-sized cars from Fiat, Renault, and Peugeot there. The minicar is far more suitable in European cities since drivers are often navigating narrow roads.

But the benefits of a minicar probably won’t translate well into American markets. The U.S remains an intensely popular market for SUVs and pickup trucks, and not-so-mini vehicles. Even Smart, the Mercedes-Benz offshoot that made Smart cars, decided to end operations in the U.S. in 2019.

Full roster of EVs — Hofmann didn’t reveal much about Hyundai’s planned mini EV, only describing it as a “battery-powered minicar.” He did note that we likely won’t see it for a while since it will take some time to develop and get into production.

Hofmann also says that Hyundai is planning for a roster of 11 fully electric vehicles by 2030. The car maker recently revealed the official specs of its upcoming mid-size electric sedan, the Ioniq 6. Hyundai is also working on a mid-size crossover named the Ioniq 7, and its compact crossover, the Ioniq 5, is already on the market. Since Hyundai already has the more popular segments covered, we’re hoping the rest of the roster will offer up more interesting options like a minicar.

Potential U.S. release — While Hyundai’s mini EV could be fairly far down the development pipeline, we’re hoping it could do well enough in Europe for it to be considered for the U.S. market. It probably won’t do as well comparatively, but an affordably-priced EV could be the missing ingredient in wider EV adoption. There’s certainly more demand nowadays, along with far more options from car makers. Whether or not there’s an actual appetite in the U.S. for something of this size remains to be seen, but here’s to hoping this mini-car could be the big turning point.