Hyundai Ioniq part of a long-term plan

Hyundai Ioniq part of a long-term plan

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The Hyundai Ioniq could be one of the first vehicles in three different powertrains based on the same front-wheel-drive architecture. If you’ve been in the Hyundai Elantra, then you know about the size of the Ioniq sedan. I have long said that if I could have a four-sedan without the plastic feel, I would give up some of the driving range. Hyundai has brought out a vehicle that is well-equipped, at a price that is lower than any other EV on the market.

Car companies are spending billions of dollars on electrification, all trying to meet the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements. Hyundai’s Mike O’Brien put it in jarring terms, “we are one vehicle lifetime away from reaching CAFE requirements. The only known energies that can get us to 54.5 are Electrification: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen.”

The question is, will car companies fight the regulations to be technologically challenged for a cleaner future, or will they waste billions of dollars meeting regulations. The difference is the long-term value of the car company and the way they present themselves to the public.

Unless the CAFE requirements are changed, you will see more electrified vehicles from more car companies in the next ten years than you have in the last decade. Score one for the consumer, one for California Air Resources Board (CARB), one for clean air.

Green cars are proliferating, charging stations are popping up all over the country and the affordability is improving. ChargePoint, a strategic partner with Hyundai, has nearly 100 charging stations up and down the coasts, a station every 50 miles and the ability to charge an Ioniq 80 percent in just 20 minutes. Under SB32 CARB requires ZEV vehicles on California roads, and the 8-cities Midwest EVOLVE group is growing as well, as is the demand for clean air by younger people.

ZEV vehicles are aspirational cars to millennials. In previous years, sports cars or luxury cars were aspirational, and young people would buy the entry level model of the car they aspired to purchase. For example, they would purchase a Chevy Cruze subconsciously wanting a Corvette.

The Millenials I have talked to would love to buy a Plug-in hybrid or EV, but are just starting out and can’t afford them. It’s as important for car companies to have the option of EVs and PHEVs, as it was for car companies to have a high-end aspirational vehicle because Millenials consider the purchase of an alternative powertrain vehicle their aspirational option. Even if they can’t afford a high-end EV, they want to know that the car company they are giving their money to cares about the earth. That and one of the perks of working in Silicon Valley is a charging station at most offices.

The market share of electrified vehicles are in flux, just like cars, but the difference is the Ioniq will attract the millennials. Why? Because it’s in their price range and because millennials care about the environment and the climate. And at this price, they can put their money where their mouth is.

A selling component of the equation is that Hyundai has a lifetime warranty on the battery for the first time owner. That’s wicked crazy. Tell me they’re not going right after Toyota Prius’s resale value, where a NiMH battery costs $2,500 (labor not included). So, how often does a battery go bad? Hyundai’s Mike O’Brien told me that they tested the L-ion polymer battery and there wasn’t a point that they could find the end of the life of a battery.

Hyundai is looking into certifying the battery as part of the Certified Preowned (CPO) second buyer process as well, but nothing is confirmed. Hyundai acknowledged that the battery performance could be adjusted over the lifetime of the battery. Most batteries don’t use the entire battery, leaving about 20% on the top and 20% on the bottom. As the battery degrades, one could adjust the exposed section of the battery versus the actual size of the battery, so that it is manageable for the lifetime warranty of the battery. L-ion polymer has fewer issues than the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries and Hyundai, and other companies, are talking about recycling batteries for other uses. This is a very exciting time in the electrified car industry.

Included as standard in electric models is the DC Fast Charging (Level-3) for all Ioniq Electric Models. Wireless phone charging capability is an optional feature on Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Electric. The Ioniq offers enhanced state-of-the-art connectivity like Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto®, and Blue Link®.

I drove the four-door hybrid and EV and enjoyed the low-end torque and surety of the sedan on the road, sweeping around the curves, cruising up the hills and around the bends. Equally impressive were the brakes. The car never lost power and was deceivingly sure-footed. Part of this was because the battery is under the 2nd-row seat, giving the vehicle a lower center of gravity.

There are three shades of 2017 Hyundai Ioniq green; hybrid, PHEV and EV:

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The hybrid engine uses a 32 kW interior-permanent magnet synchronous motor with 1.6-liter, four-cylinder Gasoline Direct Injection along with Atkinson’s cycle engine with a 6-speed EcoShift dual clutch transmission, with the ability to produce 139 horsepower (includes the power from the gasoline engine and electric motor), 125 lb-ft torque. It weighs in at 2,996 lbs. The EPA estimated fuel economy is 57 City / 59 Highway miles per gallon (MPG). When I drove the hybrid, I got 39.1 mpg, while my driver got 43.6 mpg combined.

2017 Ioniq Hybrid
Blue $22,200
SEL $23,950
plus tech package $24,950
Limited $27,500
plus ultimate package $30,500

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)
The Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) engine uses a 44.5 kW kWh interior-permanent magnet synchronous motor with 1.6-liter, four-cylinder Gasoline Direct Injection along with Atkinson’s cycle engine with a 6-speed EcoShift dual clutch transmission, with the ability to produce 139 horsepower (includes the power from the gasoline engine and electric motor), 125 lb-ft torque. The EPA estimated fuel economy has not been released. The PHEV uses an 8.9 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery system and can travel more than 27 miles in electric mode.

2018 Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid – 4th quarter of 2017
Costs have not been announced, however, the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid will receive $4,543 Federal Tax Credit and $1,500 California Clean Vehicle Rebate (The Federal Tax Credit is a calculation based on the size of the battery system.)
Limited plus Ultimate Pkg
add shipping and handling of $835

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric vehicle (EV)
The all Electric vehicle (EV) engine uses an 88 kW interior-permanent magnet synchronous motor with a Single-speed reduction gear that can produce 118 horsepower combined and 215 lb-ft torque. It weighs in at 3,164 lbs. The EPA estimated fuel economy 136mpge combined.

2017 Ioniq Electric – 124-mile driving range
Electric $29,500 – Ioniq Electric will receive the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit and $2,500 California Clean Vehicle Rebate

Limited $32,500 – Ioniq Electric will receive the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit and $2,500 California Clean Vehicle Rebate

plus Ultimate Pkg $36,000 – Ioniq Electric will receive the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit and $2,500 California Clean Vehicle Rebate
(The Federal Tax Credit is a calculation based on the size of the battery system.)

The EV has the unique creative design of a closed front grille, as there are no cooling requirements for a gasoline engine. If the car doesn’t have an engine, it doesn’t need an air intake.

Competitors:
Toyota Prius/Prime
PHEV and HEV
Chevrolet Volt
HEV
Chevrolet Bolt
EV
Honda Clarity
PHEV – FCEV – EV
Nissan Leaf
EV
Kia Niro
HEV – PHEV
Ford Model E
EV
Tesla Model 3
EV

The Ioniq Hybrid is already on sale, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will be introduced later this year, and the electric (EV) will go on sale in California this Spring.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.