Compact Hyundai ‘Ioniq 3’ to be produced in Singapore in 2025 [Update]

Update: ‘Hyundai denies shutting down Engine Development Centre’ section updated.

Hyundai Motor Group’s Singaporean plant has brought new excitement to the global EV market. Building upon its report prior to the plant announcement, The Straits Times reiterated in October 2020 that the yet-to-be-announced Hyundai Ioniq 3 is in the pipeline. Smaller than the Hyundai Ioniq 5, it will roll out of the company’s new plant in Jurong, Singapore.

Construction of the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS) will complete by the end of this year. According to the Singaporean publication, assembly of the Ioniq 5 would start first. Two-three years later, the Hyundai Ioniq 3, imaginably a crossover the size of the VW T-Cross or Ford EcoSport, would be produced here.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Hyundai Ioniq 3 will likely be exported from Singapore, possibly to neighbouring Asian markets including ASEAN countries. HMG could build up to 30,000 Hyundai electric cars at the Singaporean site every year, and obviously, domestic demand isn’t big enough to absorb the full yield. The estimated annual sales volume for Hyundai EVs in the domestic market is 5,000-6,000 units.

The HMG Singapore facility will comprise a futuristic R&D centre and a smart vehicle production site. The latter is believed to be a sophisticated assembly plant which would put together SKD/CKD kits sourced from an overseas site, and not conduct full-scale manufacturing. Still, a possible advantage for customers is Battery as a Service (BaaS) ownership model for next-gen Hyundai EVs.

Under BaaS, the battery price is not included in the vehicle sales price/finance payments. So, the initial cost to switch to a Hyundai Ioniq 5 and a Hyundai Ioniq 3 would be low. A battery typically accounts for 50% of the cost of EVs, making them expensive in an outright purchase model. Customers going for BaaS would get to conveniently take a battery subscription plan, and thus, their acquisition cost would be significantly lower.

New platform likely to underpin the Ioniq 3

Hyundai Kia Genesis E-GMP platform V2L vehicle to load
Due to smaller dimensions and the lower performance and range requirements, the Ioniq 3 may not demand a platform as sophisticated as the stock E-GMP. Image Source: Hyundai Motor Group

The Ioniq 3 is likely to be based on a new platform, one that is loosely related to the E-GMP. Hyundai officials have spoken about a new EV platform on two past occasions, and it is not planning on stretching the E-GMP to every class of product.

Volkswagen Group plans to scale down its dedicated EV platform (MEB) for A- and B-segment models (incl. Cupra UrbanRebel & VW ID.2) to where it almost has to redevelop an architecture to meet tough cost targets. Similarly, Hyundai Motor Group may consider a low-spec platform for superminis and city cars. The Ioniq 3 could be the first model underpinned by the E-GMP low-spec, featuring a squarish body with flared wheel arches and a decent ground clearance.

Hyundai & SP Group partner for charging infrastructure & battery recycling

Hyundai Motor has a partnership with Singapore’s largest charging company SP Group to build the foundation for a battery subscription service in the country. The two companies plan to build an innovative electric power ecosystem by increasing the supply and charging infrastructure of EVs, researching policies for EVs in the country and recycling electric car batteries.

SP Group currently has the largest network of fast chargers in the country and is making strides to expand it to encourage EV adoption among Singaporean car buyers.

Watch the Ioniq 3 get built at HMGICS

It was in August 2020 when a report from thestraitstimes.com revealed that Hyundai plans an electric vehicle factory in Singapore and launch the Hyundai Ioniq 3. Following that development, HMG announced a new Hyundai electric plant in Singapore in October 2020.

Hyundai electric car platform
The platform specification of the Ioniq 3 is unlikely to support features like V2L, solar roof, virtual mirrors or wireless charging. Image: Hyundai

Ioniq EV customers in Singapore will be able to watch their car being manufactured, and once their car is ready for delivery, it will be taken to a 620-metre-long ‘Sky Track’ to give them a test drive. Sky Track will be located atop a high-end seven-story ‘Innovation Centre’, and HMG’s entire Singapore facility, including this R&D centre and the manufacturing plant, will measure 44,000 m2. The building itself will cover an area of 28,000 m2, and feature a landing port for Urban Air Mobility (UAM).

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony in October 2020, PM Lee Hsien Loong also said that HMG is developing an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL), or basically a flying car, with 2028 as the deadline, hence the construction of a landing port for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) on the building.

Perhaps one day we will manufacture them at HMGICS and see them fly in the skies of Singapore. Never say never!

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister, Singapore, on Hyundai’s flying car project.

Hyundai Ioniq 3 to be positioned below the 5, 6 & 7 models

While Hyundai has confirmed only Ioniq 5 (2021) Ioniq 6 (2022) and Ioniq 7 (2024) models, ElectricVehicleWeb understands that the company has filed a trademark application for Ioniq models ranging from numbers 1 to 10, keeping the door open for many smaller and bigger EVs under the sub-brand.

The Hyundai Ioniq 3 is one of these several yet-to-be-announced Hyundai electric vehicles. Hyundai had confirmed that odd numbers were designated to crossover vehicles and even numbers for sedans. The Ioniq cars wear the Hyundai badge, and sell through the company’s dealerships and isn’t a standalone brand like Genesis.

Video: Youtube/Hyundai Worldwide

Singapore doesn’t have an auto manufacturing industry, and HMG typically sets up plants in only well-established markets where there is a significant demand for cars. However, the company has indicated a renewed focus on the ASEAN region in the recent past, announcing its first auto plant in Indonesia and new ASEAN-focused models in November 2019. The EV plant in Singapore will further strengthen its business in the region.

Singapore is promoting EVs to a great deal with various measures. The country’s Land Transport Authority has announced that it has put a ban on the sale of new diesel cars for both private and taxi use from 2025. Moreover, to make using EVs convenient, it plans to install 60,000 charging points across the country by 2030, two-thirds (40,000) at public car parks and one-third (20,000) in private areas.

Hyundai denies shutting down Engine Development Centre

As per a report by Business Korea on December 24, 2021, the Hyundai Motor Group has shut down its Engine Development Centre, and in its place has come an Electrification Development Team at its R&D headquarters in Namyang, South Korea. This was considered by the media as a clear indication that HMG is concentrating its energies on developing EVs that can compete with European or American brands.

Business Korea said that the staff of 12,000 R&D personnel will shift its entire focus to electrification and battery technology. Within the R&D unit itself, the internal departments like Project Management Team and Integrated Product Development Team will merge into the vehicle development organisation. It will be responsible for shortening the EV development schedule by supervising the operating from design to mass production, the report added.

HMG then denied the speculations about it ending internal combustion engine development. Michael Stewart, Senior Group Manager, Hyundai Motor America, released a statement to Motor1 pouring cold water over the rumors:

Hyundai Motor Group can confirm that it is not halting the development of its engines following recent media speculation. The Group is dedicated to providing a strong portfolio of powertrains to global customers, which includes a combination of highly efficient engines and zero emissions electric motors.

Michael Stewart, Senior Group Manager, Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai’s EV Strategy

The Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai, Genesis and Kia) has an ambitious EV strategy that aims to sell 1.7 million vehicles in 2026. This year, Hyundai and Genesis combined aim to sell 220,000 EVs worldwide. These plans were revealed by Hyundai’s CEO Jaehoon Chang, in an interview with Automotive News in December 2021.

According to a press release from Hyundai on June 23, 2020, HMG plans to introduce 44 electrified cars by 2025, including 23 all-electric vehicles. 13 BEVs from Hyundai are expected to be available by 2026.