Living with an electric car
After three months of guilt-free, green motoring it’s time to hand back the Hyundai Ioniq EV.
I’m going to miss silently wafting along in peak hour traffic, looking down my nose at Prius drivers for their inability to wean themselves from the teat of Big Oil.
My last ride in the Ioniq wasn’t without irony, though. I headed for Hyundai head office at the exact moment thousands of schoolchildren took to the streets to protest against government inaction on climate change.
If they’d known I was driving an EV, I’m sure I would have been waved through and applauded but, alas, the Ioniq looks like a conventional car, apart from the lack of a front grille.
If I had a criticism of the Ioniq — apart from the price — it would be that the design isn’t adventurous enough. BMW’s i3 has the kind of oddball looks and innovative use of interior space you’d expect from an electric car, while Jaguar’s i-Pace also looks suitably futuristic for an EV.
It’s a small gripe and I’m genuinely disappointed to hand back Hyundai’s first EV. Three months without a visit to the petrol station is a win in anyone’s books and recharging is far less hassle than I’d imagined — simply a case of plugging the car in when I get the lawnmower out of the garage on a Sunday.
It takes 12 hours to charge the Ioniq from a standard household plug, or about four and a half hours if you stump up about $2000 (installed) for a wall-mounted fast charger.
For me, the household plug did the job just fine. If I plugged it in before dinner, it was ready to go by morning.
Mine’s a short city commute — less than 10km — so on average, I’ve had to recharge roughly once a week. If you commute the Australian average of 16km a day, the Ioniq should theoretically last you seven days or so. You can also plot a trip further afield by taking advantage of public charging spots that can give you 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes, although these are still sparse in country areas.
Essentially, the Ioniq is ideally suited to the urban couple or small family who like to fly when they travel on holidays. There are rarely going to be times when it won’t do the job of a conventional car.
In many respects it’s a better car than similarly sized petrol-powered models in the Hyundai range. It’s quieter, has more grunt, is cheaper to run and doesn’t require regular, increasingly expensive visits to the petrol station.
As with all EVs, there’s an elephant in the room. Our Ioniq is pushing $55,000 drive-away. For about $16,000 less you could get a top-spec Elantra with all the gear.
So for the time being, the Ioniq is a car that’s great to drive — if you’re not footing the bill.