For buyers looking to explore how an electric vehicle could cut their motoring costs, the arrival of the new Hyundai Ioniq Electric is very good news indeed.
With a practical five door hatchback shape and a theoretical electric range on one battery charge of 280km, the new Hyundai Ioniq Electric is well-positioned to attract buyers in Ireland looking to switch to zero emissions motoring.
The Ioniq is a real innovation for the Korean brand and it’s the world’s first-ever car to offer a choice of three efficient and low emission powertrain options in one body type: electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
But while the hybrids use a petrol engine with the support of an electric motor and battery to produce power, the Ioniq Electric runs on pure electricity only. It’s as simple as plugging in your car as if it were a huge smartphone.
The range on one battery charge is a key consideration when buying an electric car, as is your ability to manage that range around your lifestyle. Hyundai’s claimed electric range of 280km outshines current versions of similarly sized rivals like the Volkswagen e-Golf and the Nissan Leaf. 190km is more realistic in day to day driving, and that too will depend on whether you’re driving at low speeds around town or driving at high speed on the motorway.
Electric vehicles do make a lot of sense for urban dwellers or people with short commutes who can charge up at home and then again when they reach their destination. Ioniq Electric is agile, easy to drive and the instant torque from the electric motor allows for smooth, quick progress at low speeds around town.
The range drops more quickly on the motorway, which can lead to some tense moments in the cabin. For example my first journey in the Ioniq Electric was a 100km trip that included a significant chunk of motorway driving.
I reached my destination with 27% battery charge and an estimated 42km of range left. The rest of my week was spent doing short trips in and out of town with recharges from the domestic mains supply (about 10-12 hours for a full charge) and this was far more manageable and appropriate for living with an Ioniq Electric.
During my time with the car, I did find myself thinking a lot about the length of my journeys and adapting my driving style to include more gentle acceleration to conserve battery power. Driving electric is not without compromise and long journeys really will have to be planned around charge point access in towns and motorway service stations.
The Ioniq Electric operates in near silence with just a whoosh from the tyres but the road noise is never really a problem and it is a relaxing, capable drive. The low down weight of the car from the battery makes it steady through bends but it’s not sporty or particularly exciting to drive. For a boost in throttle response there is a sport mode but best keep away from that if you’re holding onto your battery power.
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is priced at €28,495 and that includes the government grant of €5000 for electric vehicles. Motor tax is just €120 per year. The Ioniq Electric comes with a high level of equipment including 16″ alloys, twin LED headlights, dual zone climate control, auto lights, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, rear parking sensors and rear view camera, wireless phone charging pad, 8″ touchscreen infotainment with Bluetooth, navigation and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and keyless entry.
Hyundai has given Ioniq a quite conventional interior, so it is easy to interact with the controls and switches. It will not be much of a culture shock for anyone switching to an EV for the first time and the central touchscreen displays clearly information regarding the battery power, range and even a list of nearby public charging points and their distance. The Ioniq will seat five and the interior space is reasonable for a car of this size. The boot is 350 litres but it is quite shallow, though the hatchback opening and ability to fold down the rear seats boost practicality.
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric opens up the field a little more in terms of what’s on offer to EV buyers. The roughly 190km usable electric range gives it an edge on electric vehicles that currently occupy this end of the market. The Ioniq Electric won’t set your pulse racing with dynamic driver appeal but this is a conveniently sized, well-specced, and nicely styled car that is a viable option for anyone seeking to switch to electric motoring.
Model tested: Hyundai Ioniq Electric
0-100km/h: 10.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Motor tax: €120 per year