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.

SolarEdge Updates

I’ve been a bit busy to monitor my usage regularly, of late. Feeling out of touch, I made a point of checking my solar generation after recent rainy weeks.

It seemed a little low. Usually I hit 5kW around the middle of the day, but was peaking out at 4.6kW. I was contacted by someone who lives nearby with a corresponding fall in numbers.

The only theory we have to go off is lower angle of the sun. Additionally, because there were two weeks of Autumn where we almost never saw direct sunlight, we didn’t see the slow decline over time.

Its like seeing someone’s kids only occasionally – can’t believe how much they’ve grown! Their parents see it every day.

SolarEdge Updates

Having not checked anything for a while, I headed over to the SolarEdge Monitoring Portal to compare their results to Reposit. Having a second source for comparison is very helpful to sort out any discrepancies.

Well, there certainly have been some changes! And all of them look like winners.

The first noticeable change was the new Monthly profile for Power and Energy.

SolarEdge Updates
April 2017 to date

There was a period where the “self-consumption” figure wasn’t being reported through some conflict with the Reposit interface. That’s back, which is great.

Added to this is the “From Battery” stat which is quite cool. It features both in the Consumption summary figure, and the bar graph. This is only recent, so I look forward to that percentage figure “from batteries” smoothing out with a larger data sample.

If you mouse-over any of those bar graphs it gives you the details, in kWh, for the days that have been completed. Again – very vool.

I also hadn’t given much thought to the year-on-year comparison before I had enough data. Now its very handy to answer questions I and my near-neighbour have about long-term performance.

SolarEdge Updates 2

For reference, the figures are in the table below for the three months with suitable data.

Month MWh 2016 MWh 2017
February 0.728 0.780
March 0.695 0.617
April 0.523 0.588*

* As of April 24.

What I find really interesting is the March figure; despite having an extra 1.5kW of panels this March compared to 2016, the weather meant I didn’t generate quite as much.

Moving forward, I’m sure subsequent years and months will prove to be most interesting. I love me some data!

Live Baby Live!

They’ve also updated the Overview panel to have near-real-time feeds of consumption. I did a quick screen cap of this and stuck it on my YouTube Channel. I like.

All in all, a great round of SolarEdge Updates as we move toward the cooler months.

 

CEC Guidelines for Battery Storage

It was with a gentle murmur that the Clean Energy Council (CEC) released its *deep breath* Install Guidelines for Accredited Installers – Grid-Connected Energy Systems With Battery Storage.

Editor’s Note: This post has now been edited for family appreciation. For those who wish to play Sweary Bear, replace any bold-underline-italicised words with whatever pleases you… 

It got a bit of coverage on Renew Economy but was otherwise under the radar, perhaps due to the relative nascence of these systems that will be both home- and grid-connected.

RE also covered the Case Of The Burning Battery reported in March, which should probably raise a few red flags in the industry about cowboy operators, more than anything.

Battery storage and fire aren't friends
That wasn’t supposed to happen… Credit: Renew Economy

What I’m told by people on the ground is that the inverter caught fire, not the battery. Not that it matters once you’ve seen the way it was wired up (click on the article link), and where it was located (in a garage). You get a bit more of a feel for how it can go wrong, and why guidelines like this are important.

I’d never install battery storage in my garage because the door faces west, and the heat buildup when you park a car in there is what you might call sub-optimal. Throw in the fact that a lot of the battery storage units being imported are operationally rated to 40oC, and it paints a picture of best practice that most consumers should be able to understand understand.

I will point out the Powerwall is rated to operational temperatures up to 50oC, and then cease this smug digression.

As someone who has been enthusiastically engaging with various parties across the industry, as one of the initial Powerwall owners, I was keen to see how the CEC would tackle such a broad area.

There are a small number of systems in existence already that are completely bespoke, mostly in the sealed lead-acid domain (AGM etc). A number of these are off-grid, and therefore not subject to the guidelines.

In my opinion, the Guidelines have been prompted about the move towards consumer-grade equipment, targeting lithium in particular. It does talk about checking electrolyte levels “if applicable”, but these guidelines weren’t hurried about by AGM or flow batteries, that’s for sure.

Battery Storage Guidelines

After reviewing the document (click here for the PDF) the first time, I was particularly concerned by the general direction of the content.

And when I say “particularly concerned”, I mean “utterly livid”.

Page 17 contains the following (and you can see how raw this draft is, based on proofreading skills on par with my own):

Battery Storage

That … kind of makes sense I guess. Looking at the options, and with the understanding my battery storage is mounted on the outside of the house, I’m going with “battery enclosure”.

That should be covered by the IP rated battery chassis and the weatherproof IP rated cover I’ve got, right? Right???

Turning the page somewhat hesitantly, I come to this:

Battery Storage

Uh…. What the deuce?

Are you serious? An enclosure? Around my Powerwall? That beautiful thing, hanging on my wall, giving me free power at night? LOOK AT IT!

Battery Storage
Glistening in the shade…

This is a work of art, not a dashed serial killer! Would you cage up a unicorn? Or your pet dog? Or your children? No, you darn well wouldn’t… OK, maybe the kids, some days… *ahem*

This is about as sensible as saying “oh that TV you’ve got has some cables hanging out of it – better cage that up before someone gets hurt!”

Maybe I need to count to ten, take a breath, and read further.

Maybe it isn’t just some nanny state bull dust gone mad, and that mitigation is in the detail.

Maybe we should skip ahead to Page 20 where we see this:

Battery Storage

I hasten to point out that both AS 62040.1.1 and AS 62040.1.2 are related to UPS. These storage systems aren’t actually UPS, so do we ignore that or not? And what constitutes “all in one” or the term “such as PCE and control gear”?

Back to Page 8 for more reading on definitions:

Battery Storage

Houston, we have a problem. Because we’ve got a lot of battery storage systems out there – and those being introduced – that do NOT meet this definition specifically, Powerwall included.

My system consists of the Powerwall, as well as distinct physical units in the StorEdge PCE and SolarEdge inverter, as well as my Reposit controller, all separate, all securely wired on the outside of the house, and all working in harmony.

Some of the other manufacturers have this covered with a single box that I’m aware of, but in terms of outcasts, you’ve also just caged up units like Redflow and I believe Enphase while we’re here.

This is big trouble for manufacturers, who were trying to make batteries appealing using nice cabinets and cases. Now you’re going to need to consider specifications for caging the darn things up, like some kind of sad tiger in an Eastern Bloc concrete zoo, its nobility and grace forgotten.

Installers are going to be even more hesitant. Now all the wiring diagrams have to consider extra metal and framing (pretty good at conducting electricity I hear) as well as adding the cost and trouble to the install process, which will affect end users.

Going further back, into the section on 2 Scope we read:

Battery Storage

Again the (possibly incorrect) alignment with UPS standards, and the assumption that all-in-one systems contain everything, basically back to the panels.

Or does it?

Looking at another part of 2 Scope, it states quite clearly:

Battery Storage

But it also states that all-in-one had to contain the PCE, and reference it again on Page 9 under 3.1.5 Combined cabinet/enclosure the words “An enclosure containing both batteries and PCEs” but saying nothing about the inverter.

So which is it? If “all-in-one” different to “Combined cabinet/enclosure”, then why does the former need to contain the inverter but the latter contain only to the PCE hardware? Does that not automatically create overlap or confusion about where the document’s specifications sit?

Why aren’t inverters caged up or in a separate “battery room”? They’re just as dangerous as battery storage after all. We don’t have all those power switches and isolators for the fun of it – they are to keep the system safe to work on, and the people safe that work on them.

Are the “all-in-one” systems required to have suitable locks under the Australian Standards? Which AS document? This document doesn’t address physical locks required for these enclosures at all. If someone gets an enclosure, battery room, or fenced off area, is it OK to just leave it unlocked? The document doesn’t say. It does assume a lot, though.

My head is starting to hurt. I imagine a few industry insiders are looking sideways at this document, and wondering how they’re going to meet the bureaucratic mish-mash this could turn into.

Where Now?

I understand from speaking to a few people in the industry, that the CEC put this together in consultation with various stakeholders, and that its very raw. I think another round of reviews is required urgently, because this becomes a requirement, not a guideline, as of 1st October this year. Less than 5 months away.

No-one is putting a cage around my Powerwall. No-one is putting a safety sign on it, or near it, either.

The document makes multiple references to ensuring “unauthorised personnel” aren’t permitted access to the battery equipment, and that is a good point.

Rather than putting that on something as quaint as a sign, I’ll just use some common sense: if you’re on my property without my permission, you are unauthorised to be there, much less get close to my solar equipment or other possessions.

If you do not leave immediately, I will authorise my good friend, Mr Pickhandle, to assist you in any way we see fit.