It’s an exciting time for Hyundai fleet customers with the latest model Kona being launched in July (hybrid and electric models expected soon), the electric Mighty truck being debuted at the Brisbane Truck Show, and an increase in supply of the popular IONIQ 5 and 6.
More recently, Hyundai appointed Jessica de Vries to the role of Senior Manager, Fleet and Commercial Operations, who spoke with exclusively with Fleet News Group to discuss the plans and opportunities in her new role.
What’s your first impressions of the fleet industry, and what opportunities do you see for Hyundai?
My first impression is that the Fleet industry over the past few years has certainly evolved. Previously it was based mostly on relationships and high volumes and discounts – now it’s driven by supply and the transition to Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.
The Fleet industry in many ways is the constant in vehicle sales. Fleet customers – Government, not for profits and FMO’s – will always require replacement vehicles over their lifecycle period. The pressure is on to evolve these large fleets to lower emission options and It’s great to see the government playing their part with incentives like the current FBT policy.
Hyundai has always had a strong presence in the fleet area, and will continue to do so, especially now with our range expanding more broadly into Hybrid and EV products, including the Mighty EV Truck.
What are the popular models for fleet buyers? What about novated leasing, which vehicles are popular with these buyers?
The industry is excited about the new Kona small SUV, with a lot of interest in the newly released Hybrid and EV variants. IONIQ is also getting a lot of attention from FMO’s as it’s a stand-out in the premium electric segment.
Model lines like the i30, Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe are dominant. Palisade is an increasingly popular model in the novated segment and we’re proud of how our portfolio is evolving.
Can you give our readers an update on supply? Are there any constraints on the popular fleet models? What about IONIQ 5, has more supply become available recently?
Yes, we are seeing good supply of IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6 and the pipeline for next year looks promising. We are also revamping the IONIQ 5 range, with the entry model now available from $64,500 MLP. Supply of IONIQ 6 is also strong.
The new Kona has multiple powertrain options, are fleet buyers excited about the hybrid and EV versions? Do you have an order pipeline already?
Yes, the Government sector is very interested in the new Kona Hybrid and EV as a vehicle to replace their existing fleet.
Our evaluation fleet has been in demand, with a lot of customers requesting vehicle test drives. We are excited about the interest in the vehicle and some large fleet orders are just around the corner.
For some fleets starting the journey changing their fleet from ICE to EV, having the Hybrid in the mix for Kona – and soon i30 Sedan – will make the transition a better experience for both the customer and drivers.
Hyundai has been a leader hydrogen powered vehicles locally, will it become a mainstream option for fleet passenger vehicles over the next decade, or will electric vehicles dominate?
Hyundai believes that hydrogen fuel cell technology and electric vehicles (EVs) will coexist and complement each other in the future. We see fuel cell technology as suitable for higher-mass vehicles requiring quick refills and long-distance travel, while EVs will replace petrol vehicles, especially in passenger cars. Diesel vehicles, particularly commercial ones, are likely to be replaced by fuel cell vehicles.
Hyundai envisions a variety of zero-emission technologies for different applications, with options for both EV and fuel cell drivetrains in small and medium commercial vehicles and buses. We also emphasise the importance of healthy competition in advancing the industry and expanding the hydrogen refuelling network in Australia.
The electric truck was big news at the Brisbane Truck Show in May, how are the launch plans progressing and what are the volume expectations for 2024?
There has been such a big appetite for the MIGHTY Electric and feedback from our customer trials has been very positive. Our newly-established Hyundai Electrified Commercial Vehicles (HECV) Dealer Network is excited to have demonstrators and stock arriving: 2024 is looking bright for our MIGHTY Electric as we are able to supply and have some great body options becoming available.
Are there any plans for large electric trucks, or hydrogen powered trucks?
We see zero emission trucks being available in all sizes, end-to-end across all freight and delivery requirements, regardless of size. Hyundai is the only automotive manufacturing group that covers ICE, Hybrid, Plug-in hybrid, Battery Electric, and Hydrogen fuel cell technology, so we believe our powertrain portfolio places us in a unique position to bring customer-centric, eco-friendly trucks to market. The scale, usage, and range requirements will ultimately dictate the propulsion and energy storage the customers need. That might mean our Mighty Electric would be used for back-to-base last mile delivery, and our XCIENT Fuel-cell for interstate highway haulage.