One charge at a time, electric vehicles are slowly moving from novelty to mainstream.
What’s not to like about an innovative technology that produces a zero-emission car but doesn’t compromise your driving experience, comfort and safety. The major stumbling blocks have been range and price.
Hyundai, the South Korean automotive manufacturer, has hedged its bet with the 2017 IONIQ mid-size sedan that’s offered in electric, low- and zero-emission options. That means all electric, gas-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
My tester was the all-electric version, with a range of 135 miles on a full charge (subject to usage) and a price tag of $36,835; less federal tax considerations. Both numbers are beginning to get my attention.
“With the IONIQ and our pioneering all-electric vehicle, we are taking the lead as the manufacturer with the broadest range of powertrains, Mike O’Brien, vice-president of product planning said. “It’s a car truly driven by e-motion. As part of our sustainability strategy and commitment to a cleaner future, we will invest further in this technology.”
My wife, sister-in-law and her mom, and I drove to Conway for see a weekend performance of “Forever Plaid” followed by a dinner at Coconut Kenny’s in Burlington. We left with just short of a full charge and arrived back in Mukilteo with 15 miles to spare.
It was cutting it a little close, but in all fairness, the IONIQ was loaded, with the headlights, windshield wipers, heater/defroster and radio all draining the reserve. Later in the week, when I discovered the regenerative brake level control paddles, I was able to extend my range even further.
Powered by an 88 kW electric powertrain that generates 118 horsepower, and coupled with a 28 kW, 360v lithium-ion polymer battery with a 6.6 kW onboard charger, the IONIQ is NOT underpowered. In fact, it benefits from surprising low-end torque and accelerates without hesitation.
It takes close to 15-hours for a full-charge (from empty) plugging into a 110v outlet in my garage. When in need of a quicker charge, I frequented a Chargepoin+ station at the Future of Flight Museum and quickly added another 25 miles to my range.
Creature comforts were plentiful with navigation, rear-view camera, sunroof, and automatic temperature control topping the list. Other goodies included Infinity premium audio, leather heated front seats, Bluetooth, USB port, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Blue Link, as well as wireless charging for smartphones.
And the list of safety features is even longer. The goodie bag was highlighted by Smartcruise, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.
As I mentioned earlier – you’re sacrificing less-and-less going electric. Not to mention eliminating stops at the gas station. And sleeping like a baby knowing your carbon footprint has just gotten smaller.
Base Price: $32,500
Price As Driven: $36,835
Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.