The Hyundai Ioniq delivers a geener house effect
Interest surrounding the electric revolution is surging.
While sales of hybrid and electric vehicles remain low, the tide is turning. Toyota’s range of hybrids, like the RAV4 and Corolla, are playing a pivotal role in the rising popularity.
Tesla has helped make electric cars cool. Now mainstream carmakers are attacking the market. Over the past two months our family sampled daily life with Hyundai’s full electric Ioniq.
GRANT: Welcome to the future. All the automotive big guns are headed this direction.
KEL: We’re quite the trailblazers. During work breaks I can now hug trees and release spiders found inside back to the wild.
GRANT: Yes, zero emissions. But there is the problem of recharging using electricity from coal-fired power plants, and the CO2 produced during the manufacturing process.
KEL: Surely this is better for the environment though over the long term?
GRANT: Absolutely, and we’ve been recharging during the day and using solar power. I’m now working on my latest tofu recipes in between yoga classes.
KEL: Most importantly the Ioniq has a range of just above 300km. I’m far more comfortable with that figure.
GRANT: Very few people travel longer distances in a day and it means less of the dreaded range anxiety.
THE LIVING SPACE
KEL: During recent years I have become a fan of the Hyundai set-up. It makes sense and there’s little confusion. I find connecting the Bluetooth and navigating to different radio stations really easy.
GRANT: You’re spot-on, everything is clearly labelled and this Premium version has some quality gear.
KEL: For nearly $60,000 drive-away I’d expect the latest and the best. It’s got everything I’d expect and more, like ventilated and heated seats as well as a heated steering wheel (awesome for winter).
GRANT: Quite right. The leather trim, keyless entry with push-button start, eight-speaker Infinity sound system, 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it ticks all the vital boxes.
KEL: The fact I have a spot to put my phone, wallet, keys or whatever I’m carrying without having to put them into the console is really handy. It also has a wireless phone charger if you have a modern device.
GRANT: Your number one priority is also taken care of, good cup holders to ensure your morning coffee remains in safe confines.
KEL: Caffeine has saved your life on many occasions. Be thankful. Yes, the cup holders are good, and they also have adaptable grippers that can handle a drink bottle.
GRANT: One omission is dual-zone climate control. For a range-topper I’d expect dual zone aircon, but it’s not available on electric variants.
KEL: Quick off the line, this is among my favourite electric cars so far.
GRANT: Having driven this version back-to-back with the Ioniq plug-in hybrid, the pure electric is absolutely the pick if you can afford the extra $6200 investment.
KEL: We drove the Nissan Leaf earlier this year and the Ioniq feels more confident and has about 40km of additional range. During a weekly trip of about 220km, I’m far more comfortable knowing I have the additional range up my sleeve.
GRANT: Pedestrians are warned the Ioniq is moving by a dinging in reverse and a futuristic sound when travelling forward. With full torque available from standstill, it lurches off the line with enthusiasm.
KEL: I like that it reminds you when the car in front has gone.
GRANT: That’s part of the safety suite of features. You also get radar cruise control that maintains a set distance from vehicles in front and the Ioniq can steer itself within clearly marked lanes if the driver’s attention wanders.
KEL: Easy to park with sensors front and back, the weekly shop provided no issues.
GRANT: With more than 350 litres of boot space, that’s reasonable for a compact hatch. Additional cargo area is robbed by having a battery under the floor, but the rear seats fold so flatpack furniture isn’t out of the question.
KEL: The flimsy parcel shelf is not ideal from a security perspective. I like to leave my handbag in the boot sometimes. Plus, that split boot design gets in my line of sight.
GRANT: It’s a unique rear styling feature that sees the rear window blend with a spoiler. All that collectively helps with the aerodynamics, inclusive of the wheels and Marvel Ironman-style grille.
KEL: I like the front end and especially the grille. That indicates it’s an electric car. Overall the styling is a little ‘green’ for my liking.
GRANT: You’re right, many onlookers said it looked like a nicer version of the Toyota Prius.
KEL: The range estimate was accurate and the driving experience was comfortable. I noticed a bit of road noise, probably because there was no engine sound.
GRANT: Under throttle the Ioniq feels quick, with various drive modes providing differing levels of acceleration response and regeneration so you can using braking to put power back into the battery. Turning off functions like the aircon or heating also provides a greater range.
KEL: We were regularly plugging into our normal household power point for recharging. That seemed to take a long time for the return.
GRANT: Recharging from empty to 80 per cent takes about 17 hours. Install a Hyundai fast charger for about $1950 at home and it takes six hours. Public 100kW DC can do the job in less than an hour.
KEL: That still means planning for longer trips. I fear having to knock on someone’s house in the middle of nowhere to ask to borrow a power point.
GRANT: Think of the new friendships you could make in that scenario. During our two months we never ran out of power.
KEL: Our boys had no issue with space on family trips and on a few occasions going to the beach we managed to fit two surfboards with one seat folded.
GRANT: The back seat can handle a pair of adults in comfort and air vents to the rear are housed at the back of the centre console.
KEL: Given it’s electric, does that also mean servicing is less expensive?
GRANT: Certainly does, $160 for each scheduled maintenance check due annually or every 15,000km. Also the electricity we used is generated by solar, so that reduces the cost per kilowatt hour.
KEL: Petrol prices quickly bounced back to well above $1.20 a litre from the coronavirus lows. So if it’s costing us 26 cents per kilowatt hour for our electricity it equates to about $3.65 per 100km.
GRANT: That’s if we consumed straight from the grid. It’s far cheaper using solar power and my calculations during our time show it was costing less than $1 for every 100km.
KEL: The Ioniq Electric is an easy car to live with. Long trips would require a lot of planning and you need to be patient during the charging process, but for a second car it would be perfect for those who want to take the leap into zero emissions motoring.
GRANT: While the initial outlay is hefty, this is the price of early adoption until electric becomes mainstream. The Ioniq is comfortable, capable and the best value for money in the current pure electric car realm and it’s backed by a strong warranty and dealer network.
HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC PREMIUM
PRICE $58,120 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICING 5 year unlimited km warranty, 8 years battery; services $160
MOTOR 100kW/295Nm 38.3 kWh Lithium-ion Polymer battery, front-wheel drive with 100kW charging capacity
SAFETY 5 stars, 7 airbags, AEB, lane keep assist, radar cruise control, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic warning, auto high beam, parking sensors front and back
RANGE About 310km
SPARE None, tyre inflation kit
BOOT 357L, 1417L with rear seats folded