The arrival of electric vehicles has been, and will be, nothing less than a transformational change in one of the world’s largest industries. The growth in capability and sophistication from the first EV I drove at a test facility more than a decade ago, until today, has been remarkable.
The current, affordable, state-of-the-art EV is arguably the Hyundai IONIQ 5.
The South Korean company has found a way to combine style with performance, long-range and reasonable pricing.
The style is obviously the first thing you notice – unique and very current.
Designers are having a field day with electric vehicles. They don’t need to allow for grills, radiators, cooling systems or bulky engines with deep oil pans hanging beneath. The front end of an electric vehicle can thus be a fresh look. The Hyundai design team continues to impress.
The interior is equally impressive with its attention to detail and design. The twin infotainment and instrument panel displays are huge. Each measures 31 centimetres across, and is positioned in landscape orientation. They set new industry standards for presenting essential information in highly legible form.
Hyundai IONIQ 5: More spacious than it looks
With no need for a big transmission tunnel intruding into the passenger compartment and providing room for a driveshaft carrying power to the rear wheels, the IONIQ 5 gets a perfectly flat floor.
It has the longest wheelbase in the entire Hyundai lineup, longer wheelbase than the big Palisade crossover. But the overall length is much shorter.
With that flat floor and wheels pushed to the four corners, the interior is more spacious than the exterior dimensions would suggest.
One complaint on the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 – and it is a major one- is the lack of a rear window wiper.
You may be able to get by without one in sunny California or other dry and warm spots. But here in the real Maritime world, crap quickly accumulates on the rear window all but blocking visibility.
I encountered rain one day, and mist on another – in both cases was unable to use the rear view mirror.
Ah, charging an EV… Time to relax
Charging is a major part of life with an electric vehicle. Gas stations litter the landscape. There is one around every corner so no need to worry about the tank running low. But with the charging network still in its infancy, knowing where to find a charging station is front-of-mind for EV owners.
The IONIQ 5 displays projected range taking into account speed, ambient temperatures, the draw from the HVAC system, and current driving conditions. It also shows the distance to the nearest charging station. Click on the logo for that station and the navigation system will guide you there.
While waiting for the charge, you can enjoy the special driver’s seat. The recliner-like function includes support for your legs.
Hyundai’s dedicated, versatile electric-global platform
Hyundai has developed a dedicated electric-global modular platform (E-GMP). Used for the first time here, and in sister vehicles (Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60) The skateboard-like base allows for different wheelbases, suspension mounting points, and drivetrain configurations.
The base IONIQ 5 SE comes with a single electric motor, producing 168-horsepower and 258 lb. ft. of torque, driving the rear wheels. Power is supplied by a 58 kWh battery pack providing up to 354 km of range.
The next step up the ladder, and that of the test vehicle, gets you a larger 77.4 kWh battery pack, a single 225-horsepower motor, and up to 480-km on a full charge.
An AWD version with dual-motors – one for the front wheels and one for the rears – yields a hefty 320 horsepower, 446 lb.ft. of torque and performance worth of a powerful sports car. It is rated for 415 km of range. Performance is a given with the instant, and plentiful, torque provided by electric motors.
More on electric vehicle range and charging below, under EV Charging 101.
Range Anxiety and Charge Times: blights on the EV landscape
Vehicle manufacturers are hard at work to improve the main complaint about electric vehicles – range, the need to recharge and the time it takes.
Porsche set a new standard several years ago with an 800-volt electric architecture. Hyundai/Kia have matched that – at a much lower cost.
In theory, you can recharge the IONIQ 5 batteries from 20-80% in as little as 18 minutes – if you can find a rare, and powerful 350-kWh Level 3 DC fast charger running at capacity! The problem is finding an outlet that will supply that much juice.
My experience after driving a dozen or more different electric vehicles in the Maritimes is that Level 2 charging stations are readily available in even small communities. There are more than 150 public charging stations in Nova Scotia and that number is constantly growing. Level 3 DC chargers are becoming more common.
I have found the most reliable of these to be on the FLO network. Plugging the IONIQ 5 into a Flo network yielded a charge rate of 95 kWh.
Regardless of the outlet, the 77.2 kWh battery in the IONIQ 5 has the capacity to charge as quickly as any EV in the business. Hyundai continues working on improving the charge speed via over-the-air updates.
The goal is to make DC fast-charging comparable to a traditional fuel-stop.
The IONIQ 5 is eligible for both federal ($5,000) and NS provincial ($3,000) rebates offered to EV buyers. Taking $8,000 off the bottom line and adding in the considerably lower operating costs makes the IONIQ 5 an even more attractive proposition.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 has earned international praise. World Car of The Year only one of many awards. It is easily among the most impressive vehicles on the market. The fact it is purely electric makes it even more special – and hard to find.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 Preferred Ultimate AWD
As tested: $62,174 including freight
Forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear and blind spot collision avoidance assist, highway driving assist, LED headlights, lane keep and follow assist, automatic high beams,
20-in alloy wheels, TRULY panoramic! sunroof,
Ultima package, $5,000 (20-in alloy wheels, power folding mirrors, vision sunroof, remote smart parking assist, highway drive assist II, surround and blind view monitors, parking collision avoidance assist, park distance warning forward and reverse, hands free smart power liftgate, two-way onboard charger, eight-speaker Bose audio system, leatherette seat surfaces, premium relaxation driver seat, heated rear seats, advanced heads up display, integrated memory system, sliding center console,
Single rear-mounted permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor powered by a 77.4 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. 225 horsepower, 258 lb. ft. of torque.
Length, 4,704 mm; width, 1,890 mm; wheelbase, 3,000 mm; weight, 2,135 kg
EV CHARGING 101
When discussing/considering electric vehicles it is important to consider two factors: 1) range is dependent on driving style, and conditions and 2) charging is dependent on the outlet.
Whether from the manufacturer, government agency or other source, electric vehicle range, like fuel consumption ratings, are based on laboratory conditions. Whether using fossil fuel or electrons, in most vehicles it is difficult to achieve these numbers.
In both cases, consumption is highly dependent on ambient, and road conditions. Aggressive driving, hills, cold, high winds, and towing all have a negative effect on consumption.
Charging speed is dependent on the power provided by the outlet, and the ability of the vehicle’s battery pack to accept a charge. Battery chargers built into the vehicle convert AC from the wall into DC to charge the battery.
These onboard chargers are set to send power into the battery pack at a safe rate and have their own power ratings, typically in kilowatts. There are three types of charging outlets.
Level 1 chargers need 110-volts from any conventional 15-amp household outlet. A Level 1 outlet will provide 7 – 20 km of driving range per hour of charging.
Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt source, like that used for electric stoves and clothes dryers. They are thus easily installed for household use if there is sufficient capacity in the panel. Level 2 chargers are up to five times faster, providing up to 20-80 km per charging hour.
Charging time depends on the size of the battery pack – three hours or less for smaller (20 kWh or less) batteries, and up to 12 hours for larger (40 to 100 kWh) batteries. In addition to cutting charge times, household Level 2 chargers offer the ability to preheat/defrost your vehicle, remotely. The energy will come from the household supply, not the vehicle battery.
Level 3 DC (Direct Current) chargers require a 480-volt source of electricity and up to 125 amps. They can provide up to 350 kW and up to 250 km of range per charging hour.
But wait. You didn’t think it was that simple, did you?
There are four different plugs for electric vehicles. Two are for AC (alternating current) outlets: Type 1 is a single phase plug common for North American EVs. It can charge at a speed of up to 7.4 kW depending on the charging power of the vehicle, and the capability of the grid.
Type 2 three-phase AC plugs are standard on European, and some Asian vehicles and can charge at up to 43 kW.
There are two DC (Direct Current) fast charge plugs. CCS is a variation of the Type 2 AC plug, with a pair of additional power contact points allowing for very fast charging. Then there is a CHAdeMO plug common on Asian vehicles which allow not only fast charging, but the ability to act as a 120-volt outlet for powering other devices – or helping to charge ‘lesser’ EVs!