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Hyundai Jumping into Low-Priced EV Fray with Inster — Will it Come to U.S.?

by | June 27, 2024

One of the big problems with getting wider acceptance of electric vehicles is the price. So many EVs are priced well beyond the means of the average buyer. Finally some companies are working on the “$25K” electric vehicle, including General Motors, Tesla and now Hyundai.

Hyundai Inster driving REL

Hyundai revealed its new all-electric Inster subcompact at the 2024 Busan International Mobility Show.

Hyundai just revealed its new all-electric Inster subcompact at the 2024 Busan International Mobility Show. The small crossover looks a bit like the Hyundai Venue sold in the U.S.

“With Inster, we’ve taken the small SUV image to a bold new place for the global audience,” said Simon Loasby, senior vice president and head of the Hyundai Design Center. “INSTER punches well above its weight with distinctive design and an interior that maximizes its potential in exciting, customer-centric ways. With INSTER we’re redefining what it means to drive a sub-compact EV.”

According to Hyundai, it travels about 220 miles on a full charge and uses fast charging stations. That range estimate is the WLTP number, which means the real-world number is somewhere just south of 200 miles.

Will it come to U.S.?

The big question is will it hit American shores? Maybe. The new model launches in South Korea later this summer, then it will head over to Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific “in due course,” according to Hyundai officials.

Hyundai Inster nose REL

The small crossover looks a bit like the Hyundai Venue sold in the U.S.

The company describes the launch as a “global rollout” and does offer the standard “further details will be announced at a later date” language to leave a U.S. version a possibility. An official told Automotive News there are no plans to sell it in the U.S. in the near term.

The company also plans to develop a variant dubbed the Inster Cross, “featuring a more rugged, outdoor-focused design.”

Officials told the media attending the show it will be priced less than 25,000 euros, or about $26,800, in Europe. Company officials told Automotive News they’ve had a goal of producing a sub-25,000-euro EV for Europe, but they are still in the process of coming up with a final number.

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What you could get

With a range of about 200 miles, being able to charge quickly is a good thing. Using a 120 kW DC High-Power charging station, Inster charges from 10% to 80% in about 30 minutes “under optimal conditions.” The little EV also comes equipped with an 11 kW on-board charger as standard, while a battery heating system and high-efficiency heat pump are available.

Hyundai Inster side REL

The new EV debuts in South Korea later this summer and travels about 200 miles on a full charge.

While it may be small, it offers plenty of versatility, including external and internal Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) capability. Users can power 110-volt or 220-volt things like an electric bicycle, scooters or small appliances.

The Inster offers a slew of safety technologies and advanced driver assistance features such as a Surround View Monitor, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist Rear, Blind-spot View Monitor and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist 1.5.

Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Lane Following Assist (LFA) are also offered, plus Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Safety Exit Warning (SEW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) w/ Stop and Go, Highway Driving Assist 1.5 (HDA 1.5), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), High Beam Assist (HBA), Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA) and Rear Occupant Alert (ROA).

Catering to the market

Hyundai Inster interior REL

The Inster also offers a slew of safety technologies and advanced driver assistance features.

A viable sub-$25,000 EV has come to the fore within the industry as consumers complain that even with federal incentives as much as $7,500, the average electric vehicle is too expensive. According to Cox Automotive, the average price of a new EV is just over $55,000 — and that’s after a nearly 10% price drop across the board in 2024.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk led the charge for just such a vehicle — dubbed the Model 2 by some observers — then waffled on it. In the early part of this year, he told investors the company would ditch the low-priced market in favor of investing more heavily in the development of its robotaxi technology based on Full Self-Driving technology.

After an uproar over the move, he changed his mind and said the company will continue to develop the new model. Tesla’s not alone. In fact, GM lowered the price on currently-on-hiatus Chevrolet Bolt last year so it could be had for less than $25,000.

The segment is growing as Kia, Hyundai, Nissan and Fiat all offer vehicles that come in right around that price segment and more will be coming.


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