Motoring

Living electric: Hyundai Ioniq – Month #1

It couldn’t be more timely for us to have an Electric Car in the EFTM Garage given all the news this week with Bill Shorten’s policies which we’ve unpacked here at EFTM and the general questions about EV cars.

We picked up the Hyundai Ioniq a little over a month ago and in that time it’s been in my capable yet tech oriented hands. I’ll leave it to Bowen to tell you the story about how it drives next month. For now, I wanted to touch on the general experience of living with an Electric Car.

At under $50,000, this is the most achievable electric car on the market, but given it’s size it’s still a touch overpriced I would guess.

Leaving that aside, if you’re keen to go electric – this seems a logical option.

And, I love it. I’ve driven over 500km in it, and just love what it is.

Why? It’s a Hyundai. The infotainment system just works, it’s got Android Auto and Apple Car Play, it feels like a normal car in almost every way – and if we’re going to move to EVs over time, people need to have a seamless transition.

What’s Strange?

Well – this is ridiculous, but, there’s not gear stick. Of course. But here’s the thing, being a city car, it’s not really a two hands on the wheel sports car like experience, so I keep finding myself putting my left hand down to rest on the gear stick and there’s nothing – strange, but you get used to it.

And – It’s just on. You really never know. I think this is a problem for EVs going forward. Once at the shops I walked away from the car and it wouldn’t lock. Doors were all closed, but turns out it was just on. You really don’t know.

Pulling up to park you have to press the P button for park. Engage the park break then turn the car off. Yep, that’s just like normal – but because there’s no sound, I’ve forgotten several times. Ok, I’m a goose, just saying that it happens!

Then there’s the regeneration options. This is the process of the car harvesting energy from braking, and you can ramp that up so you get a real slow down when you take your foot off the throttle. This is by default set to a low setting. But after just a month I’m very cool with the higher setting, but need to engage that myself – strangely, this is done using what you would normally see as the paddle shifters for gears.

What’s Great?

It just goes. Honestly, it’s hard to complain about anything in day to day driving. To me it feels as smooth if not smoother to drive than any other Hyundai.

You’ve got three drive modes, including Sport, which – by the way, really adds some oomph. No, not “insane” oomph, just a nice “spirited” feel as Bowen would say.

But – you have to charge it!

Yeah, you have to fill up your petrol car too. The BIG shift here for drivers is that you don’t run your “tank” down low. Right now we really loath the petrol station visit, so we wait till the tank is low, make one trip and hopefully that lasts a week or two.

In the EV future, you charge all the time.

Now, there are LOTS of charging options. I’m not going to look at the long distance driving options and issues yet, I’m looking at this like 99% of buyers will be – City driving, daily commute.

In that situation, I don’t think I’d ever need to find a “charging station”. Yep, there is one at a shopping centre near me, yep there are some in council car parks and the like – but I don’t need them.

My daily drive might be a 45km round trip. On some days I need to do that twice plus some running around. A 140km day is big for me.

So the 220km predicted range of the Ioniq is well within the means of this car.

However, I’ve not installed any form of fast charging at my home. Instead, I’m just using a single phase power point, the same one I plug the vacuum cleaner into.

On that bad day, I came home at 7.30pm, with the battery at 47% charge. Plugged into the wall, it suggested a charging time just under 8 hours. That next day I had to get up and go around 4.30am, so when I got up – all done.

The fact is, most of us drive 30-50km a day, and for those people you can plug in, and even set the car to intelligently charge to be ready at a certain time – this means you can take advantage properly of your off-peak power rates.

Cost wise, hard to be 100% sure, but my estimates are the car would cost about $9-11 to fully charge at home. 30-50% less than a petrol car.

So yeah, I’m pretty happy to pay $1.50 a day to charge this one.

What’s next

I’ll hand the keys (reluctantly) to Bowen now, and see how it drives. But I’ll have it back – absolutely.

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Living electric: Hyundai Ioniq – Month #1
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