Hyundai Ioniq Electric First Drive
By Ron Amadon
ALEXANDRIA, VA. – The British newspaper, “The Guardian,” said all-electric cars are “still a tiny minority of those on the road, but their number is growing very fast as they become more affordable and more practical.”
You want proof? Volvo made worldwide headlines when it announced that every car it launches from 2019 on will have an electric motor. It is “placing electrification at the core of its future business.”
Plagued by foul air in Paris and elsewhere, France announced a program that would end the sale of gasoline and diesel powered cars by the year 2040. France’s environment minister admitted that this would be a “difficult objective” but added the “solutions are there.”
The San Jose Mercury News reports that a measure in the California legislature would increase rebates for owners of electric cars, create incentives so lower income buyers could acquire them, and establish additional charging stations. Assemblyman Phil Ting said, “The next wave is electric cars.”
So while the price of gas is below $2 a gallon in some states, it may well be that Hyundai is right on the mark with its Ioniq all-electric.
A get-acquainted drive to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation house, showed the car will meet the needs of would be pioneer owners who never want to enter a gas station.
As I headed out on the “George Washington Parkway” it occurred to me that history was repeating itself. After all, Washington also made the trek north along the Potomac River to work without using a drop of gasoline!
The Ioniq comes with an electric motor with a maximum output of 118 horsepower with 218 lb-ft of torque and a 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery mated to a single speed transmission. From a dead stop the combination produced quick acceleration to the legal 45 mph with a generally quiet ride.
It has an estimated driving range of 124 miles, or less than the rival Chevrolet Bolt’s estimated 238 miles.
Hyundai is quick to point out that the Ioniq’s EPA estimated 136 MPGe rating, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, is the highest efficiency rating of any electric sold here.
The battery is located under the rear seats, instead of eating up trunk space, giving the Ioniq a total interior volume of 122.7 cubic feet, or more than the Toyota Prius.
Charging the battery up to 80 percent at a 100 kW DC fast charge takes 23 minutes Hyundai said. Charging at home with a 240 volt outlet it will take 4.5 hours to achieve a full charge using the included In-Cable Control Box.
Kudos to Hyundai for an exterior and interior style that blends into the current auto world. Passersby will not know this is an electric unless they spy the emblem on the rear hatch.
The interior is virtually identical to any small Hyundai on the road. Rear visibility was poor due to a bar across the hatch window so Blind Spot Monitoring is a needed item.
A 6’ tall rear passenger will feel his hair brushing the headliner but there is abundant space up front. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Push buttons on the center console are used to select the familiar P, N, D, L.
With a $3,500 “Ultimate Package” with added safety features, a sunroof, navi with an 8-inch touchscreen, upgraded audio system, and “wireless device charging” the MSRP of the driven Limited model came to $36,835 sans any government tax credits or rebates. In California those incentives can total $10,000 making this an attractive package for frugal buyers.
For now, the electric is only offered in California due to production constraints and it is not clear at this time when the electric will go nationwide.
Yet it would be fair to assume that Hyundai will be making improvements to Ioniq’s range as time goes along, and the all-electric will be rolled out to a wider audience.
For now it is an attractive, well made, almost fun to drive electric with the added benefit of a lifetime warranty on the battery that keeps it going.
The Ioniq is also available as a hybrid and in the fourth quarter Hyundai will offer a plug-in hybrid.
Interior door covers are made of plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone while providing the same quality appearance of typical plastic-based materials.
Raw materials extracted from sugar cane are partly applied on the headliner and carpet. Paint with renewable ingredients extracted from soybean oil is used to achieve metallic colors on key components.
Plants coming home from the nursery should feel right at home!