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The Hyundai i-oniq concept leaks ahead of Geneva

When the 82nd Geneva Motor Show opens next week in Switzerland, booming Korean automaker Hyundai will unveil their new i-oniq concept – an electric drive vehicle equipped with a range extending generator system.

The Hyundai i-oniq first appeared in a teaser image that showed nothing but some curvy artwork and no information was offered with the rendering but yesterday, the first official picture of the new Hyundai i-oniq (shown on the right) surfaced on the internet. This vehicle is intended to preview the next generation of Hyundai “fluidic sculpture” design language and overall, this futuristic hatchback sports a sharp – yet strangely familiar look.

The key rumors around the Hyundai i-oniq center around the drivetrain, which is supposedly going to be an electric drivetrain with a gasoline engine that drives a generator system that charges the battery pack. That battery sends the power to a pair of electric motors mounted at the rear wheels – that’s right – a rear wheel drive electric Hyundai. Again, those rumors haven’t been backed up by any official information but with the growing popularity of electric vehicles, especially those with range extending gasoline engines that prevent “range anxiety”, it would make good sense for Hyundai to introduce an electric vehicle of their own. The most interesting portion of the rumor is that it is a rear wheel drive vehicle which wouldn’t put the i-oniq in direct competition with front wheel drive electric powerhouses like the Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf and hybrid bestsellers like the Toyota Prius and the Ford Fusion Hybrid. However, Hyundai has seen more success with rear wheel drive vehicles than have other automakers outside of the US and Germany so if their first electric vehicle concept was to be rear drive, it wouldn’t be that big of a shock.

Hyundai has done as well as (if not better than) any other automaker doing business in North American in terms of fuel economy with non-hybrid vehicles like the Hyundai Veloster while also offering a hybrid version of the popular Sonata. Introducing an electric vehicle, even in concept form, will help Hyundai keep up with the Jones’ even though many automakers are working to hit fuel economy numbers reported from the current Hyundai lineup.

The Hyundai i-oniq is set to make its grand debut at the 82nd Geneva Motor Show next week but with any luck, the Korean automaker will offer up some more information on the sleek new concept car. If nothing else, by the end of next week we should know whether or not the i-oniq concept is indeed the next generation of Hyundai styling with a new era of Hyundai powerplants, packing an electric drivetrain with a range extending gas engine.