DAVE MOORE TEST DRIVE: Hyundai Ioniq - A stranger to range anxiety

You couldn't take one on holiday, could you? Well, actually you could, says DAVE MOORE who has just spent a couple of days playing the tourist around Queenstown in the pure-electric Hyundai Ioniq.

The worry of not being able make it to your intended destination or at least a charging point is the big worry with EV naysayers. The syndrome even has a name: it's "range anxiety" and we all had something similar in the early days of cellphones when watching the charge bars disappear.

I have to say when planning to drive to Glenorchy and Kinloch way up at the top of Lake Wakatipu from my hotel, I had a gentle jolt of worry that I wouldn't be able to do the journey and add-in some side-tracking for views and adventures. I needn't have worried, Hyundai assured more that its Ioniq would cover that course with plenty in reserve - so yes, you can use a modern EV for more than a daily commute, you can take it on holiday in fact. And the future looks good too, as the same volume of battery space that delivers up to 220km in the Ioniq will within a few years match petrol cars for range, at 500 to 600km a charge.

After experiencing other makers' EVs and Hybrids which seem to say: "You don't expect to have a green car and a decent chassis too, do you?" The Ioniq's sumptuous ride was a great surprise, as was its grip and drivers' car biddability. It appears you CAN have fun and be a green car driver too.

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With an engine as well as electric power, the conventional hybrid version of the Ioniq is noisier than the EV. However, I'm not sure why the rear road noise is so much higher - the EV is almost ethereal.

I must say, I felt smug, touring through some of our nation's wildest, greenest beauty and knowing that the zero emission powertrain of the EV was doing absolutely NOTHING to wreck it for anyone else. It's a nice feeling and it appears Hyundai is poised to really tap into that feeling - and good on 'em.

The Korean carmaker is entering the market this month with a two-thirds of a triple-pronged Ioniq range. It's the world's first car to offer three electrified powertrains. The line-up consisting of a Hybrid, the pure Electric which are already in showrooms here and a Plug-in Hybrid which arrives somewhat later in the year, if the market demands it. The three-car range will make low- to zero-emission mobility accessible to many more people, says the company.

The Ioniq EV is priced at $59,990, the hybrid at $46,990 with the higher specification Elite models in each case asking another $6000. The plug-in Ioniq pricing is to be announced closer to its launch.

The Ioniq electric offers pure e-mobility through a 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery for an estimated maximum range of 280 km - we managed 220 with plenty left over thanks to power consumption which can be as low as low as 11.5kWh/100km.

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The instantly available maximum torque of 295 Nm is pleasingly addictive and is delivered by the electric motor with a maximum output of 88 kW through the single-speed reducer transmission accelerating the car up to 165 kmh. More importantly it gets the car 100kmh in around ten seconds if your right foot insists.
The full electric Ioniq uses the Type 2 charging plug, maximising the number of charge stations the car is able to use. Typical charge times are 20 minutes (30 minutes 50kW) using a rapid charge (to 80 per cent capacity) or a full charge using a home wall mounted charger in 4-5 hours.

The Hybrid and Plug-in Ioniqs each feature the new 'Kappa' 1.6 GDI, direct injection petrol, four-cylinder engine delivering 77kW and 147 Nm of torque. The engine has been tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with the directly responding, smooth shifting six-speed double clutch transmission - differentiating the Ioniq from its competitors with a more dynamic driving experience and I can The mated electric motor enables pure electric driving and delivers instant torque as the chassis with rear multi-link suspension greatly enhances the driving dynamics.

The Ioniq Hybrid's electric motor delivers 32 kW with maximum torque of 170 Nm, powered by a lithium-ion-polymer battery with 1.56 kWh capacity positioned under the rear seats. In combination with the 1.6-litre GDI engine, Maximum system output is 103.6 kW and up to 265 Nm accelerating to a top speed of up to 185 km/h with fuel consumption around 3.4l/100km and CO2 emissions as low as 79 g/km.

Drivers choosing the Plug-in can rely on over 50 kilometres of estimated pure electric driving range thanks to a 8.9 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. The 45kW electric motor together with the 1.6-litre GDI four-cylinder Kappa engine deliver targeted CO2 emissions as low as 32 g/km in the right driving conditions.
With Ioniq Hyundai says it is democratising e-mobility, and it's easy to see how, though the significance of the extended range car is possibly less obvious than the EV and conventional Hybrid with the EV's considerable range almost making it a no-brainer at under $60k.

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The Ioniq offers good space for up to five and provides them with connectivity features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless smartphone charging while the driver gets a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster that displays all key driving information.

The Ioniq has a safety package including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist System, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart Cruise Control ensures high safety levels for drivers and passengers alike.
The front of the Ioniq Hybrid is characterised by the Bi-xenon headlights that are embraced by the C-shaped LED positioning lamps, with entry level versions featuring spherical projector-type headlamps and Hyundai's signature hexagonal grille.

What instantly sets the pure electric Ioniq apart is its front: without the motor's need for cooling, the grille gives way to a clean and sleek surface.

The electric character of the car's design is underscored by a copper coloured character line below the front and rear bumpers and below the front bumper, alluding to the property of copper as an excellent electric conductor. When Marina Blue, Phoenix Orange or Blazing Yellow are chosen as an exterior colour, these accents will be carried out in silver. The interior is pleasingly textured and remarkably gimmick-free and I like the fact that you could be driving a non EV rather than one of the most advanced cars in the world.

You get a welcoming feeling inside the Ioniq, its efficient use of interior space complements a logical, structured approach applied to the layout of controls. Materials for the interior appear to have been chosen to create a simple and clean look throughout the car, and it delivers a slick, light and calming touch.

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EVs have improved so much in the past three or four years that the arrival of a line-up like the Ioniq with its much improved range, and more dynamic driving characteristics was inevitable. That it manages to look different without being overtly quirky as some earlier hybrid and EVs did is a credit to Hyundai and its design team.

If you take a realistic look at your own driving habits, you’ll realise that an EV like Ioniq could probably do most of your weekday commuting on a couple of home charges and I’ve made I think a convincing case for its use on the weekend for beach and bach trips, something you’d never have considered with most EVs until now.

If you’re still not convinced you could rid yourself of the dreaded range anxiety, the Ioniq hybrid will give you the range o a conventional car and a footprint that might not be as impressive as that of the EV but is deeply impressive. It’s also $13,000 less expensive than the EV, though it does use fossil fuel which means you’ll never quite achieve the smugness that I did last week, driving a zero emissions car with a fuel source s close as your nearest accessible wall socket.

So there you have it. The first affordable EV to be made available in New Zealand that formats of the time can be treated as an ordinary car up town and in the country.

Hyundai Ioniq EV - the most important new car I’ve driven since BMW’s i3. And an affordable hybrid version for those who don’t quite believe just yet.

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