Iconic design for IONIQ 5

Futuristic styling captures spirit of Hyundai’s new EV


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SAN DIEGO — Julian, Calif. is known for pies, beer and barbecue. It’s not known as a hotbed of electric-vehicle charging stations, though it does, apparently, have three. Those three stations would have been entirely overwhelmed by our visit, with 20 EVs, all the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5, descending on this SoCal town.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/12/2021 (462 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SAN DIEGO — Julian, Calif. is known for pies, beer and barbecue. It’s not known as a hotbed of electric-vehicle charging stations, though it does, apparently, have three. Those three stations would have been entirely overwhelmed by our visit, with 20 EVs, all the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5, descending on this SoCal town.

From San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter we came, 40 automotive journalists braving the perils of range anxiety and a wicked rain storm to test this, the first Hyundai developed exclusively as an EV.

If this is the future of Hyundai’s EV strategy, it’s off to a good start. Turns out range anxiety wasn’t an issue at all, at least after we remembered the dash is set to read in miles, not kilometres.

The range and the available charging times both answer the key objections many drivers have about switching to an EV. It’s available with up to 488 kilometres of range (most likely 414 km for the option Canadian drivers might prefer: all-wheel drive), and with a 250kW 800-volt direct-current fast charger, can charge from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in 18 minutes, and it can add 108 kilometres of range in only five minutes.

At home, with a Level 2 charger, charging from 10 per cent to 100 per cent takes six hours and 43 minutes. At the typical fast chargers now popping up at gas stations, shopping malls and so on, 10-80 takes 25 minutes, according to Hyundai. Those stations add 68 kilometres of range in five minutes.

The IONIQ 5 starts on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform, which will be the basis for future EVs and is shared by the Kia EV6. The batteries are all mounted in the floor of the passenger compartment — 32 modules for the extended-range 77.4 kWh pack and 24 modules for the 58 kWh pack.

Pricing for the IONIQ 5 starts at $44,999, making it competitive with other EVs such as the Volkswagen ID.4 ($44,995) and Chevrolet Bolt EUV ($46,193) and less than the Ford Mustang Mach-e ($50,495). IONIQ 5 is more than the Nissan Leaf ($37,498), which is smaller and offers less range. The IONIQ 5, ID.4, Bolt and Leaf are all eligible for a $5,000 federal rebate for purchases or 48-month leases.

Rare is the new vehicle these days that you can look at and say, “OK, that’s different.” The IONIQ 5 is one such vehicle: with its sharply angled creases, distinctive headlights and tail lights, and wide open front seat and dashboard, there’s no mistaking it for anything but a new design.

Yet its design traces back to Hyundai’s pre-Pony days, and a concept car the Korean company introduced called the Pony Coupe Concept. This kind of back-to-the-future design seems to cry out for a flux capacitor and perhaps a Mr. Fusion reactor. Especially when you consider Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox would look right at home climbing out of that early concept car.

Don Romano, president of Hyundai Canada, said he believes the tipping point for electric vehicles is not far off, but the big stumbling block is “infrastructure. Plain and simple.”

He said it’s all well and good for the federal government to be mandating EVs by 2035, but wonders who is being forced to build chargers. “If someone comes into the showroom and asks, ‘But where can I charge it?’ if we can say ‘At any Petro-Canada,’ that vehicle is sold.

“We can’t say that now.”

The biggest infrastructure deficit is the lack of charging options for urban apartment and condo dwellers unable to install charging in their parking spots — assuming they have parking spots, that is. Considering these people represent a sizeable share of potential EV customers, it’s a big hole.

Hyundai is No.2 in Canada — behind Tesla — in terms of EV market share, with 15.9 per cent of electrified vehicle sales, and that mark is more than double what it was in 2020, with 19,478 sold in 2021 vs. 9,015 in 2020. Those include the hybrids Sonata, Elantra, Santa Fe and Tucson, as well as the IONIQ plug-in hybrids and hybrids. IONIQ 5 has just hit the market.

We (my driving partner, Kyle Patrick of Autoguide and I) drove to Julian, about 97 kilometres from our hotel in San Diego. The roads are hilly, twisty and in places, fast. Nothing drains an EV faster than fast, hilly terrain, especially since the regenerative braking can only recharge so much. It was a good test.

I started recording our battery usage when I took over driving about 60 km in. The battery gauge read 71 per cent of battery remaining and 169 miles (273 kilometres) of range at an odometer reading of 933 miles. After ending our drive back in San Diego with 1,024 miles (1,659 km) on the odo, the battery read 32 per cent and 72 miles (117 km) of range. (I’m using the shown imperial readings with their metric counterparts for full disclosure. The car was set to imperial.)

All of which means we used 97 miles of range to drive 91 miles (147 km). That’s pretty close, and pretty decent, too, considering we had steep mountain climbs to get to Julian, and plenty of high-speed highway driving, during which there can be no regeneration.

Also available with IONIQ 5 is bi-directional charging, which allows drivers to run their houses (assuming they’re equipped properly) on their car’s battery. There’s also V2L, short for vehicle-to-load, where you can plug in either to a socket inside the car, or to an attachment that plugs into the charging port for when you need juice outside the car.

Calling it a crossover might be a bit optimistic, it sits more like a tall car than a crossover. Then again, in today’s market, perhaps it’s easier to sell a car you call a crossover than a crossover you call a car.

As for the name, it’s just a little bit ironic that nobody could explain IONIQ.


Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor
Copy Editor, Autos Reporter

Kelly Taylor is a Winnipeg Free Press copy editor and award-winning automotive journalist. He's been a member of the Automobile Journalists' Association of Canada since 2001.

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