Hyundai Ioniq Elec­tric

Aus­tralia’s most af­ford­able EV aims to be the new nor­mal

Wheels (Australia) - - Fortune Special - ANDY EN­RIGHT

EV­ERY time the man from Hyundai men­tioned the words ‘Ioniq BEV’ I couldn’t stop think­ing of a movie pitch fea­tur­ing a crime-fight­ing su­per­hero lunch-lady. The re­al­ity isn’t quite as ex­cit­ing, and thank­fully the Kore­ans are now call­ing it the Ioniq Elec­tric but it nev­er­the­less car­ries a pretty snappy tagline. ‘Aus­tralia’s cheapest EV’ ought to guar­an­tee a de­cent re­turn at the box of­fice for the Kore­ans.

The Ioniq Elec­tric is but one part of a three­p­ronged hedge from Hyundai, of­fer­ing a base Ioniq hy­brid, a plug-in ver­sion and this, the range-top­ping EV ver­sion. While the duller plug-in could well be the more prag­matic pick for most Aussies, the com­par­a­tively ex­tro­vert Elec­tric is the car that’s go­ing to mop up the col­umn inches and with good rea­son. Pitch­ing in at $44,990 for the Elite and $48,990 for the Plat­inum flag­ship, it fea­tures a 28kwh lithium-ion bat­tery for a real-world range of 230 kilo­me­tres. The 88kw per­ma­nent-mag­net syn­chro­nous mo­tor de­liv­ers a peak of 295Nm in Sport mode which eases back slightly to 265Nm in Nor­mal or Eco.

It’s not the qui­etest EV we’ve ever driven, and at a mod­est 90km/h cruise, your pas­sen­gers prob­a­bly wouldn’t even guess it was elec­tri­cally pow­ered, such is the drum from the 16-inch Miche­lin En­ergy Saver tyres and muted bump-thump from the tor­sion beam rear end, while wind roar is higher than you’d ex­pect from a ve­hi­cle with a drag co­ef­fi­cient of just 0.24. Flick­ing the pad­dles shut­tles through four lev­els of re-gen, and only on the more ag­gres­sive modes does some whine en­ter the cabin. Plant the throt­tle and the in­stant torque can eas­ily over­whelm those ecoori­ented front tyres. Keen driv­ers will also yearn for a lit­tle more steer­ing feed­back.

It’s re­ally not that sort of car, though. It’s a car for the un­de­mand­ing buyer who wants an EV that’s as close to fuss-free as this price bracket al­lows. It’s an un­threat­en­ing en­try point to full EV own­er­ship, with $160 an­nual ser­vic­ing and charg­ing to 80 per­cent in 23 min­utes on a 100kw DC fast-charg­ing sta­tion. This blows out to 12 hours on a house­hold out­let us­ing the stan­dard In-cable Con­trol Box (ICCB) but most cus­tomers will fork out an­other $1995 for the 7kw AC home wall­box that brings a full charge down to a more man­age­able four hours and 25 min­utes. The in­te­rior fea­tures bronze high­lights that lift the oth­er­wise Tuc­son-look­ing dash, while the cen­tre con­sole is model-spe­cific and swaps out the hy­brid and plug-in’s util­i­tar­ian shifter in favour of a neat clus­ter of but­tons.

If, af­ter some con­tem­pla­tion, you come to the con­clu­sion that it’s all fairly un­ex­cep­tional, you may have ar­rived at the Ioniq Elec­tric’s great­est achieve­ment. It makes what was once ex­otic tech­nol­ogy seem wholly ac­ces­si­ble. Not all heroes wear capes.


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