Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hey everyone – after being off the bloggage for almost a year, I’m BACK to talk about the Hyundai Ioniq in purest form: BEV.

Oh, wait. WordPress has had some kind of upgrade. This editor … is, uh… interesting. It will “take some getting used to”.

If you’ve been watching the Australian EV market, you’ll understand that it pretty much sucks right this minute for choice. You can have a gander at Electric Cars Australia to get a really good look at where we are at.

The Lay of the Electric Vehicle Land

You basically have the top end of town in Tesla Model S or Model X, which even second hand will start you around AUD$70K. About $120K for the base Model S right now. Yikes.

Image from CNBC

Maybe you’ve only got $53K to spend, so you’d go for the Renault Zoe?

Renault ZOE – My Electric Car

Nah, me either. Don’t get me wrong: it is a great little car with a good range on it. But it is a *little* car and my teenager/tween aren’t going to fit in that. I have driven one and its a zippy little thing but for that money I’d want a bit more. The finish is very basic even if the feature list is good.

Suppose I should put my car(d)s on the table and tell you I have so far driven the following EVs – in order of test date:

  • Tesla Model S 90D – courtesy of the team at Reposit Power who did me a solid
  • BMW i3 via someone at my current place of work
  • Renault ZOE – have 2 of them in the pool car fleet at work
  • And now, courtesy of my own interest, the Hyundai Ioniq
Via Inside EVs

OK, the scene is almost set. How am I doing on the blog thing? I’m rusty as a rusty thing at this.

How Did We Get Here?

My wife is looking to get a new car. She’s had a 2014 Ford Fiesta S – a fine car and cheap to run – but quite small. My teen & tween get a bit squeezed in the back seat. We bought it from her workplace when they retired their fleet management, and it was great value for money and runs on the smell of an oily rag.

I like the little “rocket roller skate” because it has a small turbo engine that goes like the clappers, but I also hate it because it has Euro configuration i.e. indicator on the left stalk. Blergh.

The other car in our stable is my 2012 Nissan X-Trail – the last of the blocky ones! It fulfills my need to go camping (until I can afford a Rivian) and was basically my dream car for years.

I live in the Northwestern suburbs of Sydney. I have a Hyundai dealer less than 15 minutes’ drive away, and contacted them last year to test drive a Hyundai Kona. That was a nice car, but the back seat is about as good as the Fiesta, so nuts to that.

When news broke that the Kona EV and Ioniq EV would be landing in Australia during 2019 (late 2018 for the latter), I hastily registered my interest and then sat patiently, waiting.

LOL nah I hassled the dealer every chance I got via email. Their patience should be noted. Hi Larry!

I got a call late 2018 that the car was available, and lined up a test drive for when I returned from a well-earned holiday to New Zealand (which is worth it in every way; get there).

Finally, the big day arrived.

Driving the Hyundai Ioniq

I’ll be up front and say I didn’t take a lot of photos. Nor am I going to run through in depth video and journo-style analysis. YouTube has plenty of that for those desperate.

I will give a shout out to Fully Charged Show whose mainstay, Robert Llewellyn, approaches things with the same kind of geeky layman’s attitude that I have.

The first issue is that my local dealer did NOT stock the Ioniq. For that I had to go to a dealer 30 minutes away, which is kind of a bummer.

I later found out is that not every Hyundai dealer will sell Hyundai Ioniq. That means not every dealer is going to be a service centre, which is not exactly convenient.

We got in there and signed the paperwork. The dealer took us out to the car and gave us the run-down. That took the best part of 10 minutes because there is a LOT of kit in this car.

We were driving the Premium version (the lower grade option is “Elite”). The drive train is the same – 28kWh battery feeding an 88kW motor for stated range of 230km – but the Premium offers a few cool things like 16″ wheels, heated and cooled leather seats, sunroof etc.

The standard kit is pretty impressive tho with all sorts of doodads to keep you happy, and a big touch screen for learning all about it. You look at the feature list, and see that yes there is a premium for EV drive train, but the Hyundai Ioniq also comes with a list of features that is hella impressive.

After carefully driving it out of the dealership onto a busy main road, we started to explore.

That Sweet, Sweet Torque

It is hard to describe driving an EV to someone who hasn’t done it. But the word “instant” is relevant. You put your foot on the accelerator, and the car goes. No lag, no changing through gears, automatic, CVT, or otherwise.

It just feels so good. It feels right, and it is so bloody far ahead of ICE that it hurts to go back to one. I’ll mention here that we went and drove a brand new Mazda 3 straight after this test drive, and felt like a step back in time.

Back to the Hyundai Ioniq: while we didn’t take the chance to get it onto the freeway, we had a fairly good run and punching the “gas” around suburban streets, and it made me smile.

My wife also had a turn – it was going to end up as her car after all – and was also impressed by how it felt. Again: we’re comparing it to cars that are up to 6 years old, but you can’t compare the driving experience.

We cranked the stereo, we twiddled the knobs, we pressed the buttons, we checked the boot, probably did bad things to the sun roof… it was all there.

I tested out the regenerative braking at all 4 levels (0 thru 3) and it took some getting accustomed to. However in combination with the regular brakes, the regen set to 3 stops you fast.

It isn’t going to take off like a Tesla – and even the BMW i3 was a bit zippier – but this was a very nice drive.

Conclusion

While we were only out in the car for about 20 minutes in suburban streets, we got what we were looking for. The feeling of a step to EV ownership, the new feature list coming in new cars, and the understanding of what we’d get for our money.

It is certainly a car I’d consider, and you should probably consider too. I would probably take the Premium over the Elite as the extra AUD~$5k is more than justified by what you get.

As it is the only model I’ve got to judge, please keep that in mind when I say things like “leather seats”, because the Elite doesn’t have all these features.

Pros: long feature list, electric drive train, great sound system, wireless charging pad (if your phone is compatible), good back seat space, multiple levels of regen braking, leather seats (heat and cool). I’ve heard the rear seat head room described poorly, but we didn’t have an issue with the boy and he’s nearly around 175cm.

Cons: no electric front passenger seat, dealer location could be inconvenient, price tag for a range of 230km is borderline, could do with USB charging ports in the rear seating area, rear hatch visibility wasn’t great.

Most importantly – Wife Comments: “liked how it felt to drive – smooth & light, not cumbersome”; “plenty of room for the kids”; “seating and interior in general was very nice”; “great sound system”; “some blind spots in the rear hatch design would take some getting used to”.

With all that said, we’re not ready to jump just yet. There is some time to consider other models that are coming, and our own financial circumstances. It will be an interesting 2019 in the car market, as various initiatives are rolled out to help EV infrastructure and ownership.

Pricing

Kind of forgot this bit in the first edit: the Elite model comes in at just under AUD$45k while the Premium is quoted at just under $49k – both before ORCs (On Road Costs, not a Hobbit reference).

If I was to look at pricing up the Premium in Polar White – other paints are all $595 extra, I’m looking at a drive-away price of AUD$53,453.30 which is not cheap. There are no incentives for electric cars in my home state or at Federal level, so I’d basically wear that entire cost. Minus what I’d get as a trade in for the Fiesta.

If I get a fully-loaded petrol car in a similar size, from Hyundai, we’re looking around $39k drive away for the i30 Premium (same paint). The difference is therefore about $14k as what you’d call the “EV price premium”.

So it is a tempting prospect.

Hyundai Ioniq Specifications can be found here.