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The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is an accessible and affordable all-electric car with all the necessary green credentials to embrace the electric future.

03 May 2018



Electric cars. This is supposed to be the future, right?

Realistically, there are two ways to really go about making an all-electric car. One is to go full Tron and be as futuristic and unconventional as possible. The BMW i3, or the Teslas, for example, have uber high-tech design and functionality that probably resembles a spaceship more than a car.

The Ioniq has been purposely styled to look like a traditional compact family sedan

Another way is to make an electric car that's as similar to a traditional combustion engine car as possible. This way, you can ease people into the transition, removing the shock value of jumping from a normal petrol car into an electric one.

Hyundai has chosen this particular route with the Ioniq Electric. With its Ioniq, there is a choice of three different electrified powertrains, but ultimately it feels like a model that's been purposely built to resemble your traditional car as much as possible. And there's a very simple reason for that - people are afraid of change. Why not make change as palatable as possible?

The Ioniq Electric features a smooth, unbroken fascia in place of a traditional grille

Familiar look

Visually, beyond the smooth, grille-less and almost robot-like front fascia, the Ioniq looks just about like any other traditional compact family sedan. It's got four doors, everything is where you expect it to be, and even the charging socket is where you'd normally insert your fuel pump nozzle.

Inside, again there's a distinct sense of familiarity and normalcy. The only things you need to get used to are the buttons where your gear lever would normally be, and the strange sensation of silent operation.

As far as cabin quality goes, it's decent, but not overly remarkable. According to Hyundai, the cabin uses a range of recycled or ecologically sensitive materials. Can you feel this? Certainly not. Yes, the use of hard, plastic surfaces isn't as comfortable as leather, but think about the cows that you are saving.

The boot fits 455 litres worth of cargo, more than sufficient for a typical family

No strange feelings

If you've never driven an electric car before, the first time can be slightly unnerving. Hit the 'engine start' button and it seems like nothing happens, other than the dashboard lighting up. Push the 'D' button, though, and you can immediately move off in complete silence.

On the road, the car is quiet, with the cabin well-insulated from noise outside the car. Yes, road noise is more pronounced due to the lack of engine noise, but its never uncomfortable or intrusive. 

The car comes well equipped, including safety features like Lane Keep Assist

Rated at 295Nm of torque, there's also plenty of shove from the electric motor, so you can be assured that overtaking other cars on the highway is effortlessly easy. They won't hear you coming as well, so you can pounce on them like a ninja. 

There's also a surprising amount of progressiveness to the torque delivery, again reminiscent of a conventional petrol engine. That's a good thing, because it's familiar and less likely to surprise and catch you out. That said, put the car in Sport mode and it sharpens the response, offering you instant and rapid acceleration.

There are also different regenerative modes. Level 1 is pretty much what you'd expect from normal engine braking. Level 2 is much more pronounced, and you will have to adjust your driving style slightly, using less of your brakes. Level 2 is the maximum we'd suggest you set it, because at Level 3 it's so intrusive and harsh that it's slightly unbearable - it's effectively hard braking every time you come off the accelerator.

The cabin is a pleasant and comfortable place to be in

The road holding of the Ioniq is pretty good. In corners, it feels stable and planted, helped by the low centre of gravity. The firmer suspension does trade off some ride comfort, but it's still acceptable and definitely usable enough for everyday driving.

Over a weekend of driving the Ioniq, we achieved 8.6km/kWh. The battery has a full capacity of 28kWh, so that translates to 240.8km of total range on a single charge, not too far off from Hyundai's claimed 280km range. 

The electric motor delivers a healthy 295Nm of torque

One step closer

We may often mock people who buy electric cars as over-idealistic tree-hugging hippies who want to save the world. But the reality is that while there are certainly people like that, electric cars make a lot of sense for everyone. It's far cheaper to run than the equivalent petrol car, and the technology has evolved to the point where it isn't just a sheer novelty anymore.

The Ioniq is an interesting model. The Hybrid is the much more traditional and accessible car - extra range, extra efficiency, all without having to really rethink the logistics of car ownership.

With some sensible driving, we managed to get an economy figure of 8.6km/kWh

The Electric is certainly different. With our current charging infrastructure (other than the Hyundai showroom, only four places currently support the Type 2 charger), owning the Electric does necessitate that you are able to install a charging point at home (which comes with the car purchase). Buying an Ioniq Electric certainly requires some logistical considerations.

Is that a hurdle too far to overcome? We're not convinced it is. After all, electric cars are the future. The charging infrastructure is set to be improved and more widely available by 2020. The new Vehicle Emissions Scheme also benefits the Ioniq Electric, which is the only car to get the maximum $20,000 rebate.

Priced at $144,888 (as of 30th April), the Ioniq Electric may not seem immediately affordable. But the math on your cost savings will eventually add up - Hyundai wouldn't be selling this car otherwise.

The Ioniq Electric is the most accessible and least daunting first step into an electric future

More importantly, change is coming, whether we like it or not. The Ioniq Electric is the most accessible, familiar and least daunting step into that future. It wants to make change palatable, and in this regard, it has succeeded. And in a way, the Ioniq Electric isn't trying to save the world or to radically change it. It just asks that we take a first step into a better and greener future. That's ambition we can certainly get behind.
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Car Information

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Hyundai Ioniq Electric 5-door Sunroof (A)
Rate it

Price

: $132,999

Engine Type

:

Unknown

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

88kW (118 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

295 Nm / 2850 rpm

Transmission

:

Single speed reduction gear

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

10.2sec

Top Speed

:

165km/h

Fuel consumption

:

8.6 km/L

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