Pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle
WE'VE had Hyundai's Ioniq in the garage for a couple of months and it has passed the city commute test with flying colours. It's comfortable, quiet, suitably hi-tech and easy to recharge.
But electric cars are typically at their best in the urban crawl rather than beyond city limits, so it was time to put the Ioniq to the "range anxiety" test with a trip from Sydney up to Mum's place in the Blue Mountains.
It wasn't quite retracing the steps of Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson - the first men to cross the mountains in 1813 - but it was pioneering of sorts.
After all, there was a chance we might not make it back. I'd calculated a round trip of roughly 190km, with a steep climb on the way and steep descent on return. The temperature was tipped to reach 30 degrees and the majority of the journey was via freeway.
On start-up, the Ioniq gave us an estimated range of 235km but previous experience had shown that turning on the aircon on a hot day could sap up to 40km of range.
It was enough to get the nerves jangling a little but I figured we could put the car into Eco mode and take the recharging lead to top it up while we visited.
A late change of plans meant a detour through the heart of Sydney, over the Harbour Bridge and up the M2 towards Windsor. It wasn't ideal but it meant more city driving, the Ioniq's strong suit.
It also allowed us to turn off the aircon and open the windows, saving vital range. Critics will say that's cheating but the fresh air kept us surprisingly cool.
We hit the freeway roughly 25km later and fired up the aircon as the outside temperature hit 30 degrees. Accordingly the range dropped by nearly 40km.
After 25km of freeway driving the range was still looking good - 211km without aircon and 173km with it.
By the time we reached Mum's - after a steep climb from Windsor - the range was 128km and the distance travelled 90.5km. All indications were that we'd reach home with about 30km of range, especially as the first part of the journey was downhill, which meant when we lifted off the accelerator, the Ioniq would feed charge back into the battery via its regenerative braking.
Nevertheless, I plugged the car in for an hour, which gave us an extra 11km of range.
I needn't have bothered. On the way down, the range hardly budged for several kilometres.
As we pulled in to the driveway, we had 67km of range, having covered 185km. Take off the 11km of extra charge and we were left with 56km for a total range of 241km. Turns out we could have left the aircon on after all.
Hyundai Ioniq vitals
Price: About $54,000
Warranty/servicing: 5 years/unlimited km, $480 over 3 years
Engine: 88kW/295Nm electric motor
Safety: 5 stars, 7 airbags, AEB, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot alert, lane keep assist, active cruise control
Spare: None; repair kit