Tag: Green Cars

Hyundai IONIQ5 EV: The Great Disrupter

Hyundai IONIQ5 EV: The Great Disrupter

Hyundai Motor North America introduced its new Hyundai IONIQ5 EV, an electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV) during Memorial Day Weekend in Miami Beach. Built with a targeted driving range of 300 miles, the IONIQ5 rides on Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The IONIQ5 is part of Hyundai Motor Group’s goal to design 23 Battery-Electric Vehicle models and 1-million BEVs on the road worldwide by 2025.

A Hyundai IONIQ5 EV Walkaround

Hyundai’s Miles Johnson takes us around the new IONIQ5 EV

What struck us the most was how big the new IONIQ5 EV actually is. Here are some other highlights:

  • Extended 118.1-inch wheelbase – IONIQ 5 has the longest wheelbase in Hyundai’s U.S. product lineup
  • Cutting-edge Parametic Pixel LED lighting elements
  • Eye-catching V-shaped front bumper incorporates distinctive daytime running lamps (DRLs)
  • Flush door handles provide clean surface styling and enhanced aerodynamics
  • Front and rear forms merge together at the doors, another example of Hyundai’s ‘Parametric Dynamics’ design
  • Strong C-pillar shape, inspired by the ‘45’ EV concept, gives IONIQ 5 a commanding presence
  • Large 20-inch areo-optimized wheels echo the Parametric Pixel design theme and complete IONIQ 5’s perfected proportions, optimized for Hyundai’s E-GMP platform

A choice of IONIQ5 EV powertrains and drive systems

Hyundai IONIQ5 Right Hero
Hyundai’s IONIQ5 EV overlooks Miami Beach.

The IONIQ5 comes with two powertrains, and one 77.4 kWh battery pack. Buyers will select either one or two electric motors. Topping the range is a two-motor AWD configuration making 320 horsepower (74 kW front + 165 kW rear) and 446 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0-to-60 in 5 seconds, while the single-motor layout driving the rear axle makes 225 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Quick charge artist

With a 350-kW charger, IONIQ 5 can charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in just 18 minutes. In just five minutes, the IONIQ5 can gain 68 miles of range using a 350-kW fast charger. The standard Level 2 on-board charger completes a full charge in 6 hours and 43 minutes.

Hyundai has joined with Electrify America to support 2021 Kona Electric and IONIQ plug-in sedans owners with DC Fast charging with the Electrify America app. Owners will enjoy over 600 ultra-fast charging stations across the country. The companies will offer unlimited 30-minute charging sessions for two years from the date of vehicle purchase. Electrify America plans to have about 800 charging stations with more than 3,500 ultra-fast chargers developed by the end of 2021.

Hyundai IONIQ5 EV interior
The Hyundai IONIQ5 EV interior.

IONIQ5 also provides the ability to use or charge any electric devices, like electric bicycles, scooters or camping equipment. It serves as a charger on wheels. It can even charge a stranded EV. It’s perfect for powering necessities during a power outage, tailgate party, camping or outdoor projects.

Get in line!

Ioniq5 rear
The Hyundai IONIQ5 EV at 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.

IONIQ 5 goes on sale this fall with a pre-reservation program for early purchasers that offers special benefits. Mark Elias Media is looking forward to testing the new IONIQ5 in the near future. Check back for a full report!

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

The BMW 3-Series is already a legend for obvious reasons including packaging, handling and all around sportiness. With the 2018 BMW 330e, is it a case of too much of a good thing, or is it another option for fanboys of “the Ultimate Driving Machine?”

What’s it all about?

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

The 2018 BMW 330e iPerformance is the semi-electrified version of the existing BMW 3-series four-door platform. Essentially designed to specifications of what others call a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), it is powered BMW’s well known inline four-cylinder twinpower turbocharged engine producing 180 hp at 5000-6500 rpm, and 215 lb-ft of torque at 1350-4250 rpm. This four-cylinder works in conjunction with BMWs permanent activated synchronous electric motor that adds an additional 87 hp for a cumulative total of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That sense of urgency spurts out from the four-cylinder/electric power unit to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift levers.

Power for the electric motor comes from a lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery mounted below the trunk floor. Plugging the included wall outlet charger offers the same stimulating qualities found while watching paint dry; plug into a level II supercharger, and the task can be completed in a more palatable 2.2-hours.

Our BMW 330e iPerformance sedan, as equipped, was capable of a top speed of 140 mph. This eDrive sedan allowed speeds

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

up to 75 mph on electricity alone when set in Max eDrive mode. Auto eDrive, which was the more subtle of the drive modes, allowed electrical operation for speeds up to 50 mph. Anything above that caused the package to revert to hybrid operations. There are other user-variable settings that reduce the effectiveness of the air conditioning and other electrical operations inside the vehicle, while extending the attainable electric mileage figures.

The 330e is available in a single trim level. It will likely be cross-shopped against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Lexus ES300h.

The view from within.

The view inside the 330e is typical BMW, as we’ve grown to enjoy through the years. If you liked the 2017 model, you’ll love the 2018 too, and most likely the 2019 as well. This sample included Venetian Beige Sensatec (“pleather”) upholstery. Our tester was ordered with the Convenience Package ($1,750), with keyless entry, a moonroof, lumbar support and Sirius XM satellite radio with a one-year subscription. Also on tap was the BMW Shadow Sport Edition package ($1,350), that added 18-inch bicolor wheels, a sport leather steering wheel, sport seats, anthracite wood trim, park distance control, ambient lighting and LED fog lamps. The only other extras were Apple CarPlay ($300) compatibility and BMW navigation ($1,700).

The BMW 330e includes a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, and 8-year/80,000-mile High Voltage Battery Warranty.

On board safety was rather basic and included BMW’s front and rear head protection system, seat-mounted front side-impact airbags and knee airbags for driver and front passenger.

Behind the wheel:

Adding in the lithium-ion battery tends to really pork up the standard BMW 3-series platform. As it were with our 330e, this four-door five-passenger Sedan ended up tipping the scales at nearly 4,000 pounds, or as they say at across the pond, 2-tonnes. But all things considered, 0-60 mph in 5.8-seconds is not terrible, just saying.

We found the 2.0-liter/electric power unit to be most effective while in highway driving mode. It’s quite evident, while driving with the huge slab of batteries under the trunk floor, that the 3-series’ handling dynamics have been jostled just a bit, thanks to the higher, and rearward-mounted center of gravity that has been thrown into disarray by the Li-ion cells. Normal driving situations are just that, normal. But we like the added benefit that comes with the four-cylinder gasoline engine when sudden energy is requested from the bridge. A jab of the accelerator causes the engine to step down, with the results being very similar to recent Formula One cars and their kinetic energy recovery system (KERS system). Sure, the sudden burst is only temporary, but it is an exhilarating boost, nonetheless.

And if we were an owner, we would be mighty chuffed over the combined 30 miles per gallon city/highway ratings. Those figures are nothing to sneeze at, taking 3.3 gallons of fuel to drive 100 miles. But the real bragging comes from the electricity plus gasoline fuel economy ratings that yield a 71 mile-per-gallon equivalency. Sure it’s probably EPA conservative, but those are still numbers you can crow about.

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

Base MSRP:  $45,600          As tested: $52,245.

Includes:  BMW Convenience Package, $1,750; BMW Shadow Sport Edition Package, $1,350; Apple CarPlay, $300; BMW Navigation, $1,700; Destination fee, $995.

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                Inline 4-cylinder

Displacement:                          2.0-liter

Power:                                     185 hp @ 5,000-6,500 rpm

Torque:                                    215 lb-ft @ 1,350-4,250 rpm

Fuel System:                           Gas Direct Injection

Power Unit:                             Electric Synchronous Motor

Power:                                      87

Combined Power:                  248

Combined Torque:                310

Fuel:                                        Premium

Acceleration:                          0-60mph in 5.8 seconds

Drive Type                              RWD

Gearbox:                                 8-Speed Automatic

Tire Size:                                 180 inch Low Rolling Resistance

Unladen Weight:                    3,900-pounds

Length:                                    182.8-inches

Width:                                     71.3-inches

Height:                                     56.3-inches

Wheelbase:                              110.6-inches

Cargo Volume:                        13 cubic feet

Cd:                                             0.29

Combined:                               30 mpg

MPG Gasoline / Electric       71 mpg equivalent

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”120″ gal_title=”2018 BMW 330e iPerformance”]

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2018 Kia Niro PHEV First Drive

2018 Kia Niro PHEV First Drive

We look for any excuse to travel the world, so when Kelley Blue Book contacted us about driving the new 2018 Kia Niro PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), on a road trip from Kia headquarters in Irvine to the Golden Gate city of San Francisco, we jumped at the chance. Along the way, we found out what life behind the wheel of a Plug-in Hybrid was really like and were able to do some good for those, who through circumstances beyond their control, found themselves homeless through the forest fires in Ventura California. The New Niro PHEV offered the best of the Gas and Hybrid worlds with plug-in battery power that would carry it approximately 26-miles, and then a gas powered four-cylinder that would help to regenerate more energy to those same cells. Read more about the Kia Niro PHEV at Kelley Blue Book….

2018 Kia Niro PHEV
2018 Kia Niro PHEV

The rules were “there are no rules” so we set out on a journey that took us through the corporate jungle of Irvine, through the urban sprawl of metropolitan Los Angeles, to Fresno and beyond. My driving partner, Dan Frio and I, started calling out through the local Red Cross and Salvation Army offices to find who needed assistance or supplies. In Ventura Strong, a local support group in Ventura County, we found just the people that were in need of our help. After stopping at a local Costco for supplies including more than 440 bottles of water, and numerous cleaning items, we were packed to the gills. There was only enough space for our suitcases directly behind the driver and passenger seats in front. Every other gap and cubbyhole in the Kia Niro was filled.

We found the Channel Island Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Ventura City, California as our supply drop off point. A majestic building in its own right, the Masons in Ventura had converted the upstairs meeting rooms into small scale department stores for local residents to come through to select clothing free of charge. It was the perfect gesture of helping one’s brother, especially when they had escaped the Ventura fires with literally the shirt on their back. The lodge was a beehive of activity late into the night.

The signs posted around town saying “Thank You, Firefighters” were surely not lost on us.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”91″ gal_title=”2018 Kia Niro PHEV”]

 

2018 Nissan Leaf EV First Drive.

2018 Nissan Leaf EV First Drive.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

The 2018 Nissan Leaf is the latest edition of the brand’s all-electric mobility solution. Improved in almost every way, it has turned the corner, away from the awkward looks of its predecessor, to a style resembling other vehicles in the Nissan lineup. Along the way, it receives a lot more content for a lot less money.

And lest you think Nissan is a relative newcomer to the electrification game, think again: The brand introduced its first electric vehicle more than 70-years ago with the 1947 Tama EV, which was built by Tokyo Electro Automobile Company, which was later to become part of the Nissan corporate umbrella.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf features a look that brings it more in line with the internal combustion engine side of the family, even going so far as to incorporate the floating roof of its big-brother Nissan Murano. The V-Motion grille is also along for the ride and a new revised charging port appears directly above the company logo, which requires less effort and bending to plug in the charging cords. We photographed it in the Napa Valley and at Trefethen Family Vineyards.

Three-Legged Stool.

Along with the new 2018 Nissan Leaf, the company introduced its new Intelligent Mobility initiative. Built like a three-legged stool, it is comprised of Intelligent Driving, Intelligent Power and Intelligent Integration. It’s the next step towards autonomous driving, at least as far as Nissan is concerned. To that end, they have introduced a lot of innovation that along the way makes way for a surprising amount of driving fun. That’s a big deal for us to say as we have found totally electric vehicles generally less than engaging.

Intelligent Driving.

The triumvirate starts with Intelligent Driving. Nissan’s ProPilot Assist offers a hands-on driver assistance function that tracks highway lines to assist in keeping the Leaf within its lanes. Combined with adaptive cruise control, the system uses cameras and works best on a limited access highway. It helps to make lane keeping a less fatiguing task, thanks to torque generating sensors that check the positions of the vehicle within the lines or when making lane changes. Hands ARE required, otherwise an alert will subtly remind you to replace them on the tiller. Failure to do so results in a visual, dashboard-based alert, followed by an annoying fast beep that will have your hands back on the wheel in no time.

Also a part of the Intelligent Driving suite, the Leaf’s e-Pedal simplifies driving controls to a single pedal although the brake pedal remains. With the e-Pedal, control is placed in the accelerator only, which delivers power while being pressed by the foot, and conversely offering braking when the accelerator is released, bringing the vehicle to a slowdown and complete stop depending on speed and following distance. Similar to the operations seen in the Chevrolet Bolt EV, it makes the operations in the Leaf more satisfying and engaging. A multi-function pedal, engaged by flicking a switch on the center console, it is capable of accelerating, decelerating, stopping and holding the Leaf on grades up to 30-percent. Along the way, it can also use regenerative and friction braking to send power back to the battery, which in turn helps extend the range of the vehicle. When it feels the e-Pedal feels won’t do the job, the standard brake pedal is still there for the driver to apply full braking pressure.

Intelligent Power.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

Power for the 2018 Nissan Leaf comes from a new electric motor making 110 kW, a 37-percent kick in the pants, going from 107- to 147 horsepower. Torque has improved from 187 to 236 lb-ft of torque, a gain of 26-percent. Both help to present instantaneous torque and more than enough power to safely merge onto high-speed motorways.

The Leaf’s battery pack is larger, climbing from 30kW to 40kW. That’s a 33-percent increase in power from a series of battery cells that fit the same footprint. The range has increased, give or take a few miles depending on driving style and power regeneration, but with an expected range of 150-miles, it sits within a white space that Nissan says is not currently being served. The battery cells sit under the front and back seats, just as they did on the previous version. Charging is improved, with a portable Level 1 and Level 2 charging cable included. It supports 240 and 120 volt charging and no longer requires a 240 charger hard-wired into the garage. Using a DC Quick Charger, an 80-percent charge, good for approximately 105 miles, can be had in 40 minutes. A Level 2 charger can do the same task in 7.5-hours while the Level 1 120V charger can do the job in about 35 hours.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

Inside, the Leaf features three grades of interior ranging from fabric to leather-faced seating. A seven-inch display helps to control nearly every aspect of the car, including the navigation and Bose premium audio system. The Leaf provides a comfortable ride with a couple of caveats: The steering wheel does not telescope which might make for a difficult driving position for some bodies, and the center console only sports a single USB port. With most Leaf buyers, and their friends, likely to be tech-geeks, there is a good chance of charge-port wars breaking out.

From the standpoint of competitors, the 2018 Leaf goes up against the Ford Focus Electric, Hyundai’s Ionic Electric, Volkswagen’s E-Golf, the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Intelligent Integration.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

The 2018 Nissan Leaf takes a full buy-in on the concept of connected car. Nissan Connect with Navigation is front and center, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Integration is included. From a safety standpoint, Standard Automatic Emergency Braking, and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection are now part of the suite.

NissanConnect EVs and Services incorporates features from the smartphone app that includes Find My Car, Cool My Car, a customizable dashboard and remote door lock and unlock. Amazon’s Alexa is part of the effort and includes such functions as saying “Alexa, cool my car or set the radio to Sirius Outlaw Country.”

A Value Proposition.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf plays the added-value game, being loaded with a lot more content for a lot less money. Available in three levels ranging from base model S at $29,990, it features $4,500 more content for $690 less dollars (2.2-percent decrease). The mid-ranged Leaf SV includes an extra $5,000 in content and a price reduction of $1,710 (5-percent decrease) starting at $32,490. Finally, the top-shelf Leaf SL that we sampled on the roads around California’s Napa Valley, arrive with an additional $6,783 in value and a 1.6-percent price reduction to $35,200.

Behind the Wheel.

Our previous ride in the 2014 Nissan Leaf, had us in a mood that can be summed up as anxious. Anxious because of the limited range of +/- 87 miles per charge; it had us driving with one eye on the road and the other on the power meter. We needed a shower when finished.

What a difference a few years makes. We found the 2018 Leaf more elegantly refined over its predecessor, offering an inviting interior that didn’t dwell so much on the electrification of the car as much as the enjoyment of the ride.

Acceleration rivaled a high-performance hot-rod, without the Brrrrrrrrrrrp from the tailpipes, because truthfully there are none. Instead, think of it as a slot car without the slot. There’s no gas cap either. Just some subtle blue badging to let you know that this is an e-vehicle.

In standard mode the Leaf is very car-like with a ride that is less artificial than the previous version. But our real joy happened while driving in the e-Pedal mode, which applied the brakes as soon as the accelerator is released. Truly engaging and exciting, it turned out to be our favorite available driving style.

The new Leaf is the perfect car for those needing more than an around town cruiser, but not as much as a higher mileage Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt EV. It bridges the gap between both realms, but if you need even more, sit tight until 2019, when Nissan announced they will bring a Leaf with battery range that reaches over 200 miles.

2017 Nissan Leaf

Story and photos © by Mark Elias

Leaf S $29,990

Leaf SV $32,490

Leaf SL $36,200

 

Configuration: Five Passenger, four door midsize hatchback.

Power:           147-horsepower electric motor

Torque:         236 lb-ft

Charging:     220V-7.5 hours

110V-35 hours

Range:          150 miles

Battery:        40kWh Lithium-Ion battery. 192 cells.

Drive:           Front Wheel Drive

Transmission: Single Speed Reducer

Drive Mode: Normal

Eco-Mode

B-Mode

Wheelbase:   106.3-inches

Length:          176.4-inches

Width:            70.5-inches

Height:          61.4-inches

Ground Clearance: 5.9-inches

Curb Weight: 4,453 pounds

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”87″ gal_title=”2018 Nissan Leaf”]

 

 

 

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Batteries are included.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Batteries are included.

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is nearly the life-size representation of a childhood dream: to have what is essentially a full-size slot car that we can drive around on the street. Except that in this case we are not 3 inches tall, and there is no slot for the guide shoe. Oh, and it’s not as sleek as the slot cars of our youth.

The new Bolt EV is General Motor’s latest attempt to bypass the use of dead dinosaurs in order to make it go. Instead, the Bolt EV gets its motivation from lithium-ion batteries, which supply energy to the South Korean-built GM Electric Drive unit. The entire battery unit, by LG Electronics, weighs in at approximately 960-pounds, and accounts for slightly more than a quarter of the Bolt EV’s curb weight, which is located under the floor of the vehicle cabin. Active thermal conditioning, as used in the Chevrolet Volt, helps to keep the battery at an optimal temperature for maximum life, but in the off-chance it should fail, it’s covered by an 8-year / 100,000 mile warranty.

The batteries are replenished by an onboard 7.2 kW charger for regular charging from a 240-volt wall box. According to GM, power for a 50-mile commute can be acquired in less than two hours. Using a fast charger, the Bolt can receive up to 90-miles of range in 30 minutes. The Bolt EV is complete with an enclosed 120-volt charging cord.

This Coppertop-on-wheels offers innovative charging so that the car will know whether it is home or away. Once it is plugged in, using a GPS location signal, it will know to charge according to your preset schedule. For instance, if you have programmed it to charge during off-peak hours while at home, it will do so. But if it is sensed in a different location, it will know to start charging immediately.

Available in base LT and Premier trim levels; it competes directly against the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Ford Focus Electric, Kia Soul EV and Volkswagen eGolf.

Inside information.

Our Bolt EV Premier, although green, didn’t feature that same cheapish look found in other “green” vehicles that we have come across lately. Instead, we found a leather appointed interior that was comfortable enough for the long haul, even if that was a 200-mile jaunt across state from Miami to Fort Myers area. A two-toned Dashboard featuring dark soft touch material above over a white matrix design below offered just enough “real car feel” to the overall package. Speaking of package-ing (just work with us here), we were amazed at how big this “wagon” really was, once we were all in.

Chevrolet Bolt EV
Chevrolet Bolt EV

Although it doesn’t share any architecture with others built on the GM Gamma platform, the Bolt EV is built on the same assembly line as the Chevrolet Sonic compact car. It is offered for sale in Europe as the Opel Ampera-E. But this small station wagon, as the EPA calls it, is anything but small inside, with enough side-by-side seating in the front row for two adults, as well as plenty of legroom in the rear. There is 95 cubic feet of passenger volume inside, along with 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and 56.6-cubic feet when the seats are folded forward.

Full driver information is available in various readouts from the gauge display screen, and from the center console’s 10.2-inch tablet-like display. Looking more android than Apple, it offered everything from battery consumption to audio, telephone, navigation and vehicle information. In regards to the connected car, the Bolt EV is all-in with OnStar’s WiFi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity suites. A wireless charger is located at the base of the center console, and there is an under elbow storage bin large enough for most tablets. Software apps from ChargePoint display a list of types of chargers available in your general vicinity.

How It Drives.

Chevrolet Bolt EV
Chevrolet Bolt EV

Surprisingly well, thank you. The Chevrolet Bolt EV, although weighing half as much as a Bentley Continental GTC, still manages to produce enough torque to snap your head back into the headrest upon launching at the stop light dragstrip. Impressive in its might, the Bolt EV motor unit manages to produce up to 266 pound feet of torque, and 200 hp, for a 0 to 60 time of approximately 6.9 seconds.

We found the Bolt Regen system, which the General touts as providing one-pedal driving, managed to make us feel as though we were winding around a golf course in a Club Car or EZGO golf cart. Forward momentum was constant as you managed to push the accelerator; lift up, and it immediately caused you to lurch forward in just the same fashion you would while on the way to the 19th Hole. It’s just the thing to help give some power back to the battery, while in slower stop-and-go traffic.

The motor sends its power to the front wheels via Chevrolet’s electronic precision shift system. A shift-and park by wire arrangement, it sends electronic cues to the CPU, which in turn does their best to approximate what we would call a natural driving experience.

The ride quality was surprisingly supple, with the Bolt EV being able to maneuver from lane to lane in a split second. Surprised by the actual handling that this wagon exhibited, it was likely enhanced by having nearly 1,000 pounds of battery at one of the lowest points on the vehicle. Your mileage may vary, but we found the car surprisingly, er, car like in feel, response, and tractability.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Base MSRP: $40,905. As Tested: $43,510.

Includes: DC Fast Charger Connections, $750; Driver Confidence Package, $450; Infotainment Package, $485. Destination Fee, $875. Federal Government tax credits are available up to $7,500.

Key Specs

Type:                                                Rechargeable energy storage system

Mass:                                                960-pounds

Battery Type:                                 Lithium Ion

Power:                                             200 hp / 150 kW

Torque:                                           260 lb-ft / 360 Nm

Warranty:                                       8-years / 100,000 miles

Acceleration:                                  0-60mph in 6.9 seconds

Drive Type                                     Front Wheel Drive Single Motor and Gearset

Suspension:                                   Front: MacPherson Strut / Rear: Torsion Beam

Tire Size:                                        Michelin Energy Saver A/S 215/50R17

Unladen Weight:                          3,580-pounds

Length:                                           164-inches

Width:                                            69.5-inches

Height:                                           62.8-inches

Wheelbase:                                    102.4-inches

Cargo Volume:                              16.9 cubic feet

Cd:                                                   0.27

Range:                                            238 (EPA) up to 260+/- YMMV

City:                                                128

Highway:                                       110

Combined:                                    119 MPGe (MPG equivalent)

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”38″ gal_title=”Chevrolet Bolt EV”]

 

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid First Drive.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid First Drive.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq First Drive

Story and Photos by Mark Elias

Durham, North Carolina. Think of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq as a carton of Neapolitan ice cream. You know, the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors neatly sorted inside a single container of Edy’s or Breyer’s finest. It’s simplistic but it sums up Hyundai’s latest offering into the field of alternative fuel vehicles.

While it’s not 31 Flavors, or even close, there’s something for everyone in this new compact alternative fuel vehicle. Just how green do you want to be is really the only question you need to answer.

A massive undertaking.

Designed with over 500 development engineers, this might be Hyundai’s Manhattan Project. But you have to admit they were smart about it. Instead of designing individual body styles to accommodate different forms and techniques for propulsion, Hyundai engineers developed one body that could accommodate a traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric powertrain versions without radically altering the basic design.

And it is a handsome looker, at that.

The basic tenets are all there, starting with the hexagonal trademark grille that has fronted most vehicles in the Hyundai lineup for the past several years. New techniques including the use of front wheel air curtains, active air flap grills, rear spoilers, aero panels and undertray diffusers all do their part to help the Ioniq achieve a wind-cheating Cd of .24. That’s swoopy indeed. And no need to go mondo-bizarro in the body design: The Ioniq appears like a wind swept-modified version of its Elantra sibling.

Overall, Hyundai has stepped up the use of aluminum and high-strength steel along with more than 475 feet of structural adhesives throughout the vehicle in an effort to increase efficiency and cutting weight at the same time.

Get up and go.

Power for the Ioniq is derived from three different power supply systems. The limited mileage Ioniq Electric is a city car that utilizes a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor producing 88kW with a horsepower equivalency of 118 ponies, and 215 lb-ft of torque. Battery power is delivered via a 360 volt Lithium-ion Polymer cell located under the rear seats. The combination of it all is delivered to the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear transmission, and this model achieves a 136 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent) and a range of 124-miles.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 1.6-liter engine / electric motor.

The Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid have certain similarities including a 1.6-liter direct-injection Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder that produces 104 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 109 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The standard Hybrid includes a 240 volt Lithium-ion Polymer battery that energizes a 32 kW electric motor that’s good for 43 horsepower, while the Plug-In Hybrid does the same with a 360 volt cell to charge the 44.5 kW motor that produces 60 horsepower. Net output from both engine/motor combos taps out at 139 horsepower. Not a fan of continuously variable transmissions? Hyundai has you covered with the utilization of a six-speed EcoShift dual clutch transmission in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.

More impressive is how Hyundai has managed to shrink the size of the Hybrid Power Control Unit, while making it more power-dense than its older Hyundai Sonata hybrid relatives. Speaking of power, Hyundai has incorporated an ECO Driving Assistant System for its Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Ioniqs that checks a particular drive route using 3D mapping to enable Predictive Energy Management to optimize and regenerate battery usage depending on the terrain.

Ride control on all versions utilize a tried and true MacPherson strut arrangement at the front end with multilink kits at the rear of the Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid versions. The all-electric Ioniq makes do with a torsion beam rear axle. All versions steer with a power-assisted rack and pinion system to point their noses in the appropriate direction. Michelin is the exclusive tire manufacturer for the Ioniq, with Energy Saver meats sized from 15 to 17 inches depending on the vehicle model.

From a safety standpoint, the Ioniq doesn’t scrimp. Features such as Smart (adaptive) Cruise Control, lane keep assist, and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection provide partial braking from 5 to 112 mph and full braking from 5 to 50 mph.

Interior decorating.

Interior design of the 2017 Ioniq is directly in line with current standards, meaning that space-aged accoutrements that appeared in a Buck Rogers movie from 50-years ago won’t put you off. Instead, you will find plenty of features that look as contemporary as anything else on the road.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Interior.

Contemporary can also mean stodgy and boring but the Ioniq goes beyond that. Innovation is everywhere, including on the doors. What, you say? The interior door panels are made of a plastic / powdered wood / volcanic stone combination that rightly mimics traditional petroleum-based materials, just minus the petroleum. Sugar cane by-products are applied to the headliner and carpet, while soybean oil is used in the composition of the car’s metallic colors.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Other innovations include a “driver only” mode, which reduces the drag on the Ioniq system by concentrating just on the driver’s zone to the exclusion of all others. It’s just the thing when you are driving alone to and from work.

Behind the wheel.

Our time behind the wheel of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq featured sweeping turns along country roads throughout the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle. Driving around seasoned but up-and-coming downtown Durham found a Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid that purposefully was conservative in its habits, in an effort to behavior modify your way to good gas mileage. By and large, it did the trick and we easily found instant mileage readouts of 54.3 mpg from the gas-electric powertrain, while in that realm. Behaving as a hoon will quickly see the efficiency ratings plummet, but you knew that would happen anyway, right? A quick turn onto the on-ramp of Interstate 85 saw power-assisted mileage in the range of 48 to 50 mpg while cruising at normal what the traffic flow will bear speeds.

A flick of the wrist found us motoring in a rather engaging sport mode that had the gas 1.6-liter four-cylinder operating all the time with a power-assist from the electric motor for additional traction. Much more emotional that running in ECO mode, the Sport setting had the car delaying gear shifts longer, firming up the steering wheel, and changing the characteristics of the TFT digital gauge readout. Overall though, we realized we were being irresponsible in our pursuits, which had us switching back to ECO mode in rapid order.

Talk about behavior modification, indeed.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq

Ioniq Hybrid Base MSRP:                $22,200

Ioniq Hybrid SEL MSRP:                 $23,950

Ioniq Hybrid Limited MSRP:         $27,500

 

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Ioniq Electric MSRP:                       $29,500

Ioniq Electric Limited MSRP:       $32,500

Ioniq Electric Ultimate MSRP:     $36,000

 

Freight charges:                               $     835

 

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