The Electric Car’s Future Gets Brighter And Closer

The Electric Car’s Future Gets Brighter And Closer

Hyundai says the all-new 2022 Ioniq 5 redefines the electric car for the next generation of EV owners. That’s a pretty bold statement, but Hyundai also says its transforming itself from a traditional automaker to a “Smart Mobility Provider”, with a plan to sell 1 million “electrified” vehicles a year, globally, by 2025. Of course that term, electrified, means both pure electric vehicles and any hybrid model, so the claim isn’t as aggressive as it sounds (and automakers love how it sounds good…).

Creative terms aside, the Ioniq 5 sits on Hyundai’s all-new EGMP (electric global modular platform) chassis, the automaker’s first dedicated electric vehicle platform, and one that’s intended to underpin a wide range of new electric models in the coming years. This will include a midsize sedan (Ioniq 6) and a larger SUV (Ioniq 7). The platform features an 800-volt charging system that can replenish the Ioniq 5’s 77.4 kilowatt hour battery from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes, a charge rate much faster than the 400-volt systems in the Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y. This assumes the Ioniq 5 driver can find a fast charger capable of fully leveraging the 800-volt system.

Hyundai says range and charging times are the primary concerns for consumers looking to buy an EV. To address both issues the automaker has partnered with Electrify America to provide access to a growing, nationwide level 2 and level 3 (fast charger) network. Hyundai also plans to roll out Hyundai Home, a home charging system incorporating solar panels, energy storage, and level 2 (240-volt) EV charging, which can charge the Ioniq 5’s battery from 10 to 100 percent in about 7 hours. The Ioniq 5’s rear motor also serves as an inverter, allowing it to charge at lower-voltage (and slower) charge stations.

The 800-volt system may be the Ioniq 5’s headlining technology feature, but the car has a full array of impressive tech specs. It’s offered with both rear- or all-wheel drive, and with two battery sizes, 58 kWh or 77.4 kWh. The smaller battery is only offered on the base Ioniq 5 SE (standard range), with 168 horsepower and a range of 220 miles. Starting price is $40,925 before a potential $7,500 federal tax credit, plus any state credits you might be eligible for (California offers a $2,500 rebate for EVs). That price includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen, 19-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluelink remote smartphone access, radar cruise control with lane centering, and unlimited 30-minute charging sessions for 2 years on Electrify America’s network.

That strikes us a a solid value play, but EV buyers seeking more range and higher performance can step up to the Ioniq 5 SE with the 77.4 kWh battery for $44,875, which bumps horsepower to 225 and range to 303 miles. That model is still rear-wheel drive, with a dual motor Ioniq 5 SE is offered for $48,375, with 320 hp, 446 pound-feet of torque, 256 miles of range, and a claimed zero-to-60 time of 5.1 seconds. This model is officially the most powerful Hyundai ever sold in the U.S. An Ioniq 5 SEL with rear- or all-wheel drive is also available at $47,125 (RWD) or $50,625. The SEL trim adds synthetic leather seats, ambient interior lighting, wireless phone charging, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate and more advanced radar cruise control.

The top-of-the-line Ioniq 5 Limited model starts a $51,825 for rear-wheel drive or $55,725 for all-wheel drive. This version gets 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, head-up display, Bose premium audio system, 360-degree cameras, a blind-spot camera, digital key (lets you drive with just your smartphone), plus remote smart parking assist that lets you park the car with your smartphone. We’re fans of many of these advanced features, including the Ioniq 5’s full-color head-up display with augmented reality components, and the smart park assist that eases tight parking space maneuvers. But that price walk is somewhat aggressive between the base model at just under $40,000 and the top model at over $55,000. Choose your powertrain and trim wisely.

The good news is, even the base Hyundai Ioniq 5 includes the car’s best traits, starting with its edgy exterior styling that straddles the tricky line between unique and weird. Every alternative fuel vehicle tries to walk this one, but most end up tripping over it. We also like the clamshell hood (Hyundai’s first) that syncs up to the square LED headlights. It’s also got the longest wheelbase of any model in Hyundai’s line (4 inches longer than even the three-row Palisade SUV), which translates into massive interior space for passengers and cargo. With 27.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row, 59.3 cubic feet behind the first row, and a total of 106.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, the Ioniq 5 is larger inside than a Mustang Mach-E or ID.4.

Perhaps the coolest tech toy on the Ioniq 5’s technology pedigree is the vehicle-to-load (V2L) system that lets it charge other devices, up to and including another electric vehicle. Through an accessory plug inserted in the Ioniq 5’s charge port, owners can power everything from a microwave to a TV to a small refrigerator, making the Ioniq 5 a highly desirable camping (or emergency…) partner. There’s also an interior V2L plug in the second row on Limited models. The standard 12.3-inch gauge cluster, positioned next to the central touchscreen, is another win, providing clear, easily accessible information while giving the interior a premium look and feel.

Driving characteristics of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 live up to the promise made by its stylish exterior and premium interior. Power delivery is what you’d expect in a modern EV, meaning immediate and vibration free. The electric motors can spin up to 15,000 rpm, and they respond to throttle input without hesitation. The roomy cabin remains quiet at highway speeds, while ride quality ranges from soft to relatively firm when the driving mode switches between “Normal” and “Sport” (there’s also “Eco” and “Snow”). All-wheel-drive models automatically disconnect the front motor when it’s not needed, and Sport mode increases torque vectoring (and steering weight) to liven the Ioniq 5’s handling capacities.

We think, as an overall package, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 represents the next-stage in electric vehicle evolution. The advanced 800-volt charging system will eventually dominate the market due to its faster charge rates. The ability to leverage an EV’s battery to power other devices, from personal electronics to entire houses, is a trait we see converting internal combustion holdouts into EV fans. Using your cell phone to remotely track and unlock your vehicle, and even provide driving privileges to friends and family members, are still high-tech features today, but will be commonplace in just a few years. The same goes for controlling your vehicle, even when you’re not near it, through voice commands systems powered Alexa, Apple and Google.

All of these features are either standard or optional on the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 which suggests future of personal transportation is about a lot more than just what form of energy is turning the wheels.