The first car that I can think of that ran on something other than JUST gas was the Toyota Prius. The introduction of the Prius was pretty major for the simple fact that it was the first mass produced Hybrid vehicle produced worldwide in 2000. It had a funky shape and at that time, it didn’t really catch my eye because I was fine with my Hyundai Elantra. Also, I didn’t really dig the design.
Fast forward almost 20 years since the Prius’ first introduction in Japan, in 1997, there are a lot more options for not only hybrid vehicles, but also electric vehicles. Almost every car manufacturer out there has at least 1 electric vehicle on their production belt. From BMW to Hyundai, the industry understands that this is the future of mobility.
After attending a few sessions on e-mobility, I got my hands on the all electric Hyundai Ioniq for a whole week. About the size of a Hyundai Elantra, this sporty blue car came fully loaded and fully charged!
My husband took a look at the car and shook his head. He was trying to figure out how I was going to fit all 5 feet 9 inches of me in this compact car. Since it only seats 5, our entire family couldn’t ride around. So, the kids and I took it out and about all 7 days. I drove to work and to run errands. I ran to get the kids from practice and took it to church. I did as much as I could……..when I had a charge.
See, you have to remember that this car requires it’s battery to be charged in order to do these things. And that gave me a bit of pause. The first day, I made sure to only go to work and back. I wanted to see how the battery life not only handled the distance to my office, but also how my speedy tendencies affected the battery life. On a full charge, the battery can last between 118 and 125 miles. This may seem like a lot on the surface, but as a mom with 4 kids and tons to do, those 125 miles get drained pretty fast. So I made sure to always start off with a full charge, and make sure I didn’t go too far from the house.
There are public charging stations in the area around me, which was reassuring, BUT they are not all fast charging stations and they aren’t as plentiful as you’d think. I decided to take the car about 30 miles from my house for the Wrinkle In Time movie premiere. I checked the route and saw that the parking garage where the movie theater was had a charging station. This parking garage had over 700 parking spots, but only 2 EV charging stations. And they weren’t fast charging stations. At home it would take about 16 hours to go from empty to a full charge using a 120V outlet. That was using my standard plug in the garage. (To be fair, my electricity is a little funky and the wattage needed may have been a little lower). The public stations like the one in the parking garage take about 4 hours using a standard 240V outlet. I was OK with that because I was going to see a movie. I drove up to the stations and there was a Chevy Volt in one spot charging and a Tesla Model 3 just sitting there. The Tesla was not charging. My eyes bugged out of my head. So I quickly left the garage and used the navigation in the Hyundai to find alternate charging stations. The closest one was actually in an apartment garage, so that was out and the other one was almost a mile away. Neither were fast charging (which charge to 80% full battery use in only 23 minutes) and I wasn’t going to leave my car at a gas station and walk at night to the theater. So I parked in a regular spot back at the garage, and prayed the spot would open up when I left the theater….at 9:30pm.
To my luck, both spots were vacant and I was able to park and charge my car. I used the key tag that comes with the Ioniq to pay for the charging and sat in my car…in the cold. I was miserable. I sat for around 30 minutes and still barely had enough charge to go home. All of the fast charging stations were out of the way and I was scared they wouldn’t be available. And to top it off, it began to snow….hard!
So, nervously, I unplugged the car and drove very slowly down the highway. I talked to my husband the whole way home. I needed him to know where to get me in case I didn’t make it all the way home. Oh and did I mention that using the heat reduces the miles per charge? So I fluctuated between warm and cold as I coasted home.
But I made it! With 9 miles to spare and the car actually performed beautifully in the snow.
Highlights of my time with the Ioniq:
I heard the joke “Uh Oh, it’s raining….are you going to get electrocuted in the car?” about 500 times. It was only funny the first time.
Because there isn’t an engine, it’s hard to tell when the car is on or off. I let my mother in law sit inside one day and she wanted to turn it on. She proceeded to press the button repeatedly because she thought there would be a more prominent engine noise. And once I yelled that it was already on, she went for what she thought was the shift gear to put it in reverse. It was the window washer lever, and soaked me with window washing fluid. I yelled again for her to stop. It’s something I wish I had on camera.
The car has a LOT of get up. So much so, that a lot of other cars were shocked at how fast I zipped past them once I merged on to the interstate. It was satisfying!
I’m pretty standard when it comes to vehicle color. The Ioniq was a bright electric blue! I absolutely loved it.
While I didn’t mind driving the car in the snow, I noticed that since there wasn’t an engine to warm the hood and nose of the car while driving, snow and ice accumulated on the Ioniq. It got so bad that the front crash sensors were blocked and a message appeared on the dash that they were not functioning.
I really enjoyed my time with the vehicle. The kids complained about leg room in the back, but I was quite comfortable in the front. While the electric version is currently only available for sale in California, the hybrid is available nationwide. It’s a great car, and I now have a new found appreciation for EVs.
If I were to ever take the plunge and buy one, I’d definitely need to find one that could fit a family of 5 to 6 and has a longer range on a charge. I have too many variables in my life to be unsure if my car is going to make it.
Check out the Hyundai website for more info on the Ioniq.