Hyundai planning 3-month try-before-you-buy program for Ioniq 5 EV

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Generous state and local purchasing incentives aren't always enough to convince motorists to buy an electric car. Hyundai is planning to launch a try-before-you-buy program to boost sales of the recently-unveiled Ioniq 5.

While the terms and conditions haven't been finalized, industry trade journal Automotive News learned the South Korean firm is tentatively planning to offer what can be summarized as a short-term lease. Eligible drivers who are considering buying an Ioniq 5 (pictured) but aren't sure if they can live with the range and charging limitations of an electric car will be able to spend up to three months in one to try it out. Hyundai will collect payments corresponding to the use of the car, insurance, and what little maintenance is needed by a nearly new EV.

There's no word yet on how much taking a three-month test drive in an Ioniq 5 will cost. Hyundai stressed its aim isn't to rival Hertz by giving drivers an alternative to owning a car; it wants to convert curiosity into sales.

"When you try before you buy, and if you find it can work for you in your everyday life, you tend to now want to move toward potentially owning," pointed out Olabisi Boyle, the company's vice president of product planning and mobility strategy, in an interview with Automotive News. "We do expect that they'll transition from try to buy."

Due out in select states before the end of 2021, and nationwide the following year, the 2022 Ioniq 5 will be offered in three trim levels called SE, SEL and Limited. Pricing information hasn't been announced. Models sold in North America will ship with a 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack that stores enough electricity to deliver about 300 miles of driving range when customers order a single, 225-horsepower electric motor and rear-wheel-drive. Range decreases to about 244 miles when buyers select the 320-horsepower dual-motor all-wheel-drive model.

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