German premium brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz are pushing incentivised locally-assembled plug-in hybrid models in Thailand, but it’s Hyundai that’s pushing the boundaries, tech-wise. The Korean carmaker has launched the Hyundai Ioniq Electric at the 2018 Bangkok Motor Show. The full EV is imported CBU from South Korea and is priced at 1.749 million baht (RM216,200).

The Ioniq Electric is a surprise introduction for this observer, as not only does Hyundai not sell the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Ioniq in Thailand, the brand currently does not have a single passenger car in its showrooms to keep the H1/Grand Starex company. Forget step-by-step, let’s go straight to EVs.

The Ioniq Electric is the EV sister of the Ioniq hybrid that’s on sale in Malaysia. It’s powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor with 120 PS and 295 Nm of torque. Zero-100 km/h is done in 9.9 seconds in Sport mode and top speed is 165 km/h. But it’s not about going fast – more relevant is the claimed range of 280 km on a single charge.

Speaking of charging, the Ioniq Electric’s 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery (made by LG, situated under the rear seats) can be recharged in 12 hours with a normal home socket (2.3 kW) or four hours and 25 minutes with a wallbox (6.6 kW). As for 100 kW DC fast charging, that takes 23 minutes to go up to 80%. Under the charging flap, which is in the same location as the hybrid’s fuel flap, is a CCS combo (AC seven-pin) socket.

The latest electric powertrain by Hyundai pairs a 64 kWh battery with 204 PS and 470 km in the recently revealed Kona Electric. A basic version of that crossover comes with a 39.2 kWh battery, which gives it 135 PS and up to 300 km range on a single charge. The Ioniq Electric could receive an upgrade in the future.

The EV Ioniq looks like its hybrid sibling but comes with a distinctive closed face without a grille, as it does not have cooling needs of an engine. There are copper highlights on the front/rear bumpers and sides, as opposed to blue on the hybrid. The wheels are 16-inch items with 205/55 tyres.

Inside, the upper dashboard is identical to the hybrid, but the EV gets a unique and independent centre console as it does not need to house a gear lever. That frees up space for a large storage area. The surface between the seats houses the EV drive buttons, seat heating/cooling buttons and electronic parking brake. The cabin is peppered with matching copper accents.

Standard kit includes LED headlamps, leather seats, eight-way driver’s electric seat, keyless entry with push start (of course!), Qi wireless phone charger, digital meter cluster and the comprehensive suite of safety and driver assist systems as found in our Ioniq hybrid.

The factory warranty for the Ioniq Electric is three years or 100,000 km, but the EV battery gets an eight-year unlimited mileage warranty. As it’s not locally assembled in Thailand, the 1.749 million baht retail price isn’t as low as it could possibly be.