With Electric Vehicle (EV) sales growing and the exponential improvements in the battery technology for these vehicles, it is no surprise that we are seeing more and more car manufacturers joining the electric car evolution. Hyundai is one such automaker adding a pure EV vehicle and a plug in/hybrid version to their fleet. And in this post we got to try both! This gave us two weeks of seeing what it is like to live a little greener, while decrease our carbon foot print by going electric. Not to mention, saving money at the pump, considering the exorbitant gas prices as of late.
Both vehicles are named “Ioniq”, so in this post you can differentiate between the two by their colour. The Hyundai Ioniq EV is white and the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV is the dark grey. The latter is powered by an electric motor and a conventional gas engine.
The exterior of both is sculpted with aerodynamic efficiency in mind. There is permanently closed-off upper-grill area on the EV version, and some active air flaps on the plug in. Other aerodynamic features like the flat underbody and an aero-efficient rear hatchback design helps them slice through the air with a low drag coefficient. The electric motor only produces 108hp, but an instantaneous 215lb-ft of torque makes up for the some what low horsepower. There are three driving modes offered: “eco”, “normal”, and “sport”. We spent most of our time in “eco” mode, in order to test the full range of the 28.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Doing so we confirmed that the Ioniq can travel a little over 200km on a full charge. Although getting to a full charge is the issue. Charging takes around 25hrs with a regular 110volts power source, 5 hours with a 240volts power source, and only 25min using the 100kilowatt fast charging system. Sadly this was just a loaner for us, and we did not have the same access to a 100kw fast charging system, as an EV owner would. Meaning charging and therefore using the EV became a anxious issue for us. We would charge as much as we could, and pray 10% could take us to where we needed to go. And unfortunately most of the public charging stations available at commercial chargers only offer a 240volts charge. This means your quick coffee and doughnut stop at “Tim Hortons” or that grocery run to “Whole Foods” wont do much. And that is if you are lucky enough to even be able to snag a free charging station.
While more and more charging stations are appearing in urban city centres, the few that we tried and the few times we tried, quickly turned into a waiting game. Most businesses have 2-3 chargers at most, and our five year old apartment complex wasn’t built with any; thus making charging a fully electric vehicle difficult, and almost a chore. Like other electric vehicles, the Ioniq EV relies on a regenerative braking system to initially slow the car, while refilling the battery pack. There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, they are not used for gear changing, but instead, selecting between four different regenerative braking settings. At the highest setting, the Ionic can almost come to a full stop, just by lifting off the accelerator pedal, and without even touching the brake pedal.
The plug in version on other hand is powered by a 32kw electric motor and a 1.6L gas engine, making 139hp and 195lb-ft. Attached to the gas engine is an automatic 6speed dual clutch transmission. Allowing the PHEV to reach over 1000km with a full tank of gas, and with an impressive combined city and highway fuel consumption of 4.1liters/100km.
Inside, the Ioniq you can find mounted push buttons gear selectors on the centre console. And the centre dashboard holds an 8-inch touchscreen, where you can choose to display some vital information regarding your electronic drivetrain. For example: how far you can go given your remaining range. The touchscreen can also be use as GPS, indicating the closest charging station. It also supports apple and android car play, and is equipped with an 8 speaker Infinity audio system. It offers a nice level of comfort and safety with well padded and heated seats, a leather steering wheel, an LCD instrument cluster, and an easy to use touchscreen. The safety features include blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist sensors, lane departure with lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Mainly because of its battery pack, the Ionic does weigh a bit more, when compare to regular gas engine hatchbacks. But with it, the Ioniq EV still offered us a stable and comfortable ride. The only downside was the wind/noise level when going at highway speeds. Although this is not something you need to worry about, if you are mainly driving around town.
Electric cars and the technology around them is evolving quickly, and just in time if Vancouver is concerned. With gas prices soaring lately, our fair city is making headlines for the having the most expensive gas prices in North America. So given the cost of fuelling up at the pump, it is hard to ignore and not consider how EV can and will most likely be the future of motor vehicles. But until we all get there, I suggest playing it safe with the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV. To be able to have the back up security of gas in the tank, while taking advantage of its incredible range and superb fuel economy. Ultimately, allowing you to be able to keep some of that hard earned money in your pocket.
In short, thank you Hyundai for giving us our very first taste of what it is like to drive an electronic vehicle.