It was with great anticipation that I took an extended test drive in a pure electric vehicle and I was looking forward to seeing how it would fit into my normal driving patterns.
Previous experience of driving EVs was limited to 5- or 10-minute test drives at the likes of the GreenFleet ‘Arrive and Drive’ and ‘Company Car in Action’ events so it was with great interest that I undertook life with the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq Electric for 10 days!
Here’s how I got on and here is the actual car on demo:
First, a look at what it says on the tin!
The car comes in three versions – the pure electric tested here, a plug-in hybrid and also a petrol hybrid - but it is the zero-emissions model on which we concentrate in this review.
Both pure electric models qualify for the Government grant of £3,500. There is a choice of two models starting from a reasonable £26,745 for the entry-level Premium and jumps to £28,545 for the Premium SE including the grant reduction.
The Premium gets 16” alloys, 2 charging cables – one 3 pin for a normal home socket and one type 2 connector for a home charge or rapid charge point, wireless phone charge point, and a 7” drivers information cluster, cloth seats, sat nav and Bluetooth phone connection, adaptive cruise control. It is very well specified for an entry model.
The Premium SE, tested here, comes with all that the Premium gets but adds alloy pedals, Blind Spot Detection System, electric driver memory seats, front & rear park sensors and leather seats all around.
Whilst it could be classed as a matter of taste whether you like how the vehicle looks, the interior on the Premium SE model has a luxury feel to it due to the leather seats and the well-designed cockpit has all the controls within easy reach and mostly where you would expect to find them. One very interesting feature for those not used to driving electric cars is the regenerative braking feature. This allows the car to automatically apply the brake once you come off the accelerator - without you having to hit the brake pedal! This puts energy back into the battery and thereby helps to maintain or even increase the mileage range of the car while you are driving. There is a twin set of flappy paddles on the steering column which you can set the level of regeneration from 1 to 3. On 3, when you take your foot off the accelerator you really get a feel of the car braking quite hard whereas on 1 it has a more normal feel to slowing down but less regeneration. Once you master it though you can go for quite a long time without using the brakes simply using the regeneration system to slow you down for corners or junctions. This actually helps improve your driving by encouraging you to think ahead!
The acceleration, as with any electric vehicle, is remarkable. With no gears to run through to get up to higher speeds the car simply glides effortlessly up to 60mph in what seems like a split second, however, there is no official 0-60mph figure. But take it from me, it doesn’t hang around!
The other thing that hits you immediately is when you set off – total silence! The lack of an engine is obvious as the car glides off quietly with only the road noise to listen to. There is a button on the dash called the VESS button (Virtual Engine Sound System). This is designed to emit an engine sound at speeds up to 30 mph for pedestrians and those who are hard of hearing.
I took the car out for a long-ish run when I had a couple of days away (to celebrate a significant birthday – not saying how old!) into the wilds of Northumberland. I have to say, initially, I was constantly looking at the range guide to see how much energy was being swallowed up and if we had enough to get to where we wanted to go.
Here’s what the display shown below tells you. The range is the 109 miles figure in the middle. At full charge, this was reading around 117 miles so I took this picture just after starting off on the journey. The gauge on the right shows how much power remains (similar to a fuel gauge) so if it only shows red you need to charge urgently!
The gauge on the left indicates real-time energy consumption so when accelerating it will be somewhere in the ECO/PWR range depending on how fast you accelerate. And when you come off the accelerator or brake, it will be in the ‘CHARGE’ range.
Our first destination, a hotel in Felton, Northumberland – around 28 miles away according to Google Maps - was easily accommodated with the available charge. The next day was the true test though...
We decided a visit to the National Trust Estate at Wallington Hall, this is around 19 miles going west out into Northumberland (the journey is all fields and sheep so there are no charge points to be seen for miles!) and again the car managed with ease within the available range. As we were going west, however, it meant our journey back east to Tynemouth was going to be longer – via the A696 (via a regular watering hole in Belsay!) and the A1 around Newcastle that was going to be about 36 miles according to the built-in SatNav. That would be around 83 miles out of our total range leaving a supposed 34 miles spare at the end. What the experience did was have the effect of reducing my overall speed to preserve charge - being continually aware of the depleting range and not wishing to need to find a public charge point before reaching home! As it happens, we got back with about 26 miles to spare so in the end, so it managed well.
In the next picture, the changed display shown gives even more information about the range left in the car. You will see that it also shows the distance to nearby charging stations so when I took this photo, the nearest one was only 0.7 miles away but at the time I had 99% charge anyway. The display allows you to touch the fuel tank icon and it takes you to the SatNav map which guides you to where the nearest charge point is. It also tells you if the charge point is working correctly and if it's unoccupied!
Before undertaking our little road trip, I did check out a local public charge point to see what would happen when I tried to use it. Using the card that I was given when my home charger was fitted, it worked a treat! The ChargePoint was in the Blue Reef Aquarium car park in Tynemouth and both spaces allocated to electric vehicles were free. It was a simple operation to park up, get the charge lead out, wave the card at the machine and plugin. I didn’t need to charge at the time but the process seemed very easy and this type of ChargePoint will generally give up to 80% charge in about 40 minutes. With a range of 117 miles, you could do a long journey with just one or two stops for a comfort break which most people would do anyway.
What would it cost me to run?
On the TCH Salsa website you can get quotes on all models of the Hyundai Ioniq starting from the Hybrid model (non-plug in version) all the way up to the pure electric – here are examples of the 3 types on the TCH Salsa salary sacrifice scheme:
No deposit, 3 years and 8000 miles per annum including all maintenance, servicing, tyre replacements, breakdown cover and fully comprehensive insurance.
HYUNDAI IONIQ HATCHBACK 1.6 GDi Hybrid SE 5dr DCT with metallic paint from £326 per month.
HYUNDAI IONIQ HATCHBACK 1.6 GDi Plug-in Hybrid Premium 5dr DC inc metallic from £403 per month.
HYUNDAI IONIQ HATCHBACK 88kW Electric Premium 28kWh 5dr Auto inc metallic paint from £469 per month.
Prices shown are fully inclusive, net salary reductions after tax and NI savings due to salary sacrifice.
For more details about the costs involved and how the TCH Salsa Employee Car Salary Sacrifice scheme works don't hesitate to get in touch.
What does it cost to charge the car?
This all depends on the make, model and battery employed in the vehicle, however, as a general rule it costs around £3.50 to get 115 miles of range into a 30kW battery. This is assuming the overnight electricity rate of around 13 pence per kW hour which is the UK average.
A 60-litre fuel tank will cost around £75 to fill with diesel and a possible range of 500 miles so an electric car would cost about £15 to travel the same distance.
In conclusion, all in all, this was a very worthwhile exercise in a car that was very pleasant to drive! It had good handling, response and amazing acceleration! It's a decent sized family car available for a reasonable price, especially bearing in mind the running costs will be very low in comparison with traditionally powered cars.
It's a fact that this technology is here to stay and will only get better in terms of battery range, meaning less time spent charging the car and less ‘range anxiety’ about how far you will get without having to charge up again.
For more details about electric vehicles and charging see the TCH Salsa Guide to Electric Vehicles or contact us:
Corporate Sales Manager – Salary Sacrifice
Office: 0114 257 4200
Mobile: 07768 792866
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
TCH Leasing, Cuthbert House, 9 Brookdale Court, Chapeltown, Sheffield, S35 2PT