ZEN ART OF EMITTING ZERO
motoring justifies — to tech lovers and tree huggers at least — the price premium. Hyundai’s regular five-year warranty and annual service bills of only $160 add to the appeal.
Our next cheapest EV is the tiny oddball Renault Zoe at $47,490, and the Ioniq Electric looks a give-away when considered alongside the EV poster boy Tesla Model S, starting from $146,512 drive-away.
Those not ready to dive into the electric deep end can opt for other Ioniqs with petrol engine safety nets. Hybrid and Plug-in versions each use 1.6-litre four-cylinders backed by electric motors, for combined outputs of 104kW/265Nm.
The Hybrid’s small battery, charged only through regenerative braking, helps the car return an impressive 3.4L/100km. The Plug-in has larger battery capacity, enabling some 63km of pure electric driving — enough to cover most Australian commutes. Forgot to plug it in? The petrol motor’s got your back.
Hyundai Ioniq product planner Scott Yoon says the model’s brief was to have “attractive styling, be a normal looking car, have competitive fuel efficiency, engaging driving and advanced, smart technology”. In other words, an antidote to the challenging design of its Toyota Prius rival.
All Ioniqs are well equipped with comprehensive active safety, radar cruise control, rear camera, eight-inch touchscreen, satnav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, smart entry and start, climate control and alloy wheels.
Drop another $4000-$5000 and Premium versions of each bring larger alloys, leather heated and ventilated power seats, power sunroof, paddle-shifters, bi-xenon headlights and wireless phone charging.
The Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in are the safe bets with their conventional radiator grilles and six-speed double-clutch autos. Hyundai says early interest is weighted firmly towards the full electric camp — and the Ioniq Electric, with its grille-free nose treatment in matt grey or gloss black, would be a smart choice.
The Ioniq Plug-in costs $40,990 in Elite trim or $45,490 in Premium grade, mirroring the price of Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV, the invogue size plug-in SUV.
A commercial 100kW DC fast-charging station tops up the Electric’s 28kWh Lithiumion polymer battery to 80 per cent capacity in 23 minutes. Fit a 7kW AC personal charging station in your garage ($1995 installed) and do the job in four hours 25 minutes. A domestic 240V AC socket does it in 12 hours.
Paddles behind the steering wheel adjust how much regenerative braking you want. It’s a clever set-up and simply lifting off the accelerator nearly brings you to a stop in city traffic and arrests speed sweetly down hills while adding juice to the batteries.
You need to change your driving style but it becomes second nature after a few journeys.
Let’s not pretend the Ioniq Electric is a cheap small car. It isn’t. But it’s compelling — spacious, comfortable, fun to drive and in the realms of affordability. Its greatest talent is making zero emissions EV driving feel perfectly normal.