Tag: Hyundai Ioniq

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

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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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