Hyundai Ioniq trialled as electric fleet car, ahead of full Australian launch

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A version of Hyundai’s Ioniq electric sedan has been rolled out across various Australian fleets, before the full suite of EVs arrives in Australia in late 2018.

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The latest electric vehicle offering from South Korean auto-maker Hyundai, the Ioniq sedan, has hit Australian roads as part of a 70-car fleet trial, ahead of a full retail market launch in the second half of 2018.

Hyundai said a hybrid electric version of the Ioniq, which was launched globally in 2016, was being used as a fleet car by the Australian Red Cross, the South Australian government and Northern Alliance Victoria, and had successfully covered many thousands of kilometres over the last two months.

The fleet roll-out precedes a broader market launch of the car, which has been billed as Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota Prius, that is scheduled for later this year.

That launch, says the car maker, will include all three of the Ioniq Ev variants – hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric – with pricing and full specification details to be announced closer to the launch date. In the US, the cars have retailed at around the $US30,000 mark.

The imminent arrival of another mass market model of electric vehicle on Australian shores promises another welcome boost to the local market, which has managed to go backwards in growth while the rest of the world has been taking off.

As well as the Ioniq, the second half of 2018 is expected to see the arrival of the new model Nissan LEAF, the Jaguar Land Rover I-Pace electric SUV, and maybe even Tesla’s mass market offering the Model 3 – although that is looking more likely to arrive in 2019.

“We had an opportunity to import a small number of Ioniq hybrids in advance of the full launch mid-year, so we placed them with fleet customers to get real-world feedback about the cars’ performance and practicality,” said Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer Scott Grant, in comments on Friday.

“The fleet customers are leasing the cars at a special trial rate and so far the program is going extremely well. The car is well liked and is proving cost effective, reliable and comfortable to drive, with users averaging around 4.0l/100km in everyday urban driving. Feedback so far is very positive.”

Australian Red Cross fleet manager Greg McClure said the Ioniq was not only cost efficient, but included safety features on par with those you would expect from a “higher cost” vehicle.

“Overall we’re getting about 3.5L/100km and we’ve recorded about 900km to a tank. For the staff and volunteers using these cars this means fewer trips to fill up and more time in the communities we serve,” Grant said.

“We’re always trying to save costs, become more efficient and environmentally friendly, and having the latest technology for our fleet has been a great boost.”

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25 Comments
  1. George Darroch 1 year ago

    This is a good sign. It indicates that they actually want to sell them in numbers.

    Apart from Tesla, I’m most excited about Hyundai’s vehicles. I think they could become Australia’s biggest car brand (both electric and non-electric combined) on the basis of this strategy.

    • Alistair Spong 1 year ago

      IMO , If they can put together an electric car thats as affordable and reliable as the getz then its all blue sky

      • Rod 1 year ago

        I think the Getz would come close to 4L/100km? We had a Daewoo Matiz that did that. I’ll hang out for an all electric EV but it sounds like these are a good fit for that fleet.

        • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

          The Getz we had with the smaller 1.4l motor did not do nearly as well as 41/100km, more like 6L/100km. More recently we had a Mk7 VW Golf which would routinely do just a bit under 5L/100km for country driving. We now have a plug-in Holden Volt. All local driving is electric from the mains. When running on petrol it seems to be around 5L/100km but averaged out between our particular mix of local and extra-urban driving, we are so far averaging 1.5L/100km.

  2. Peter Campbell 1 year ago

    It sounded like it was just a mild hybrid being tested, like the Prius, a petrol car with some electric assistance, not a plug-in series hybrid, which can be a proper electric car with some petrol range extension.

    • Bill Sinclair 1 year ago

      Peter,

      The Prius is a full hybrid vehicle.

      • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

        My point is that the Prius uses a small battery and a small electric motor to supplement a petrol motor that also drives the wheels. It lacks any ability to plug-in to the mains and cannot store much energy. All its energy is ultimately derived from burning petrol.
        In contrast, the Holden Volt and Mitsubishi PHEV Outlander use much more powerful electric motors to drive the wheels. The petrol engines’ function is almost entirely relegated to driving a generator to prevent the battery charge falling below a set minimum. For a high proportion of local driving their energy can be derived entirely from the electricity mains and not from petrol.

        • Bill Sinclair 1 year ago

          Have you driven an outlander phev, I would take the prius any day.

          • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

            I have been a passenger in an Outlander but not the driver. It seemed fine to me. I have driven a friend’s Prius that had a DIY plug-in conversion kit installed. It was just about impossible to keep it in EV mode with the petrol engine off, even with quite a lot of extra battery. He was disappointed with it.
            I have already bought and sold the last car I will ever own that lacks a charging socket.

          • Just_Chris 1 year ago

            The problem with Prius conversions is normally down to the motor not the battery. The motor in the Prius is only 30 kW which is just about enough to drive around the car park or perhaps cruise at a constant speed but no where near enough to power the car entirly.

          • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

            Yes, that is my point. The Prius is a petrol car that gets some useful efficiency gains from a small supplemental electric motor. In contrast, a plug-in series hybrid design with a decent sized battery is a proper electric car with a small supplemental petrol engine/generator for range extension.

          • Bill Sinclair 1 year ago

            The hybrid synergy drive is the most sophisticated hybrid drive, It’s two electric motors and power split device efficiently enable three sources of power to drive the wheels, as well as providing an excellent CVT automatic transmission, I suspect there is a similar drive in the outlander. I wonder what sort of drive this Hyundai uses http://prius.ecrostech.com/original/PriusFrames.htm

          • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

            The Outlander uses two more powerfull electric motors (for front wheels and back wheels) nearly all the time. Nearly all the time the petrol engine is doing nothing because the electric motors have ample power and the battery has sufficient charge. Even when the battery is depleted to the point that the petrol engine comes on to maintain a minimum charge, it is the electric motors that drive the wheels. Only at highway speed at times of highest power demand does the petrol engine get engaged via an automatic clutch to directly drive the front wheels in parallel with the front electric motor. Aside from that caveat, the Outlander acts as a plug-in series hybrid.
            In the case of the Volt, there are two electric motors. There is an uncommon circumstance when the petrol engine is directly coupled to the wheels but it does not actually result in any more drive. The Volt, like the Outlander, is very much a plug-in series hybrid with the emphasis on electric traction motors and petrol relegated to back up. http://myholdenvolt.blogspot.com/2012/09/does-ice-ever-directly-drive-wheels-of_28.html

          • Bill Sinclair 1 year ago

            interesting, I wondered why such a big petrol motor. seems like a lot of hardware to be travelling with, I drove a volt once, it was nice. When the full electric cars come out, they may become affordable!

          • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

            Yes, it is a big extra lump to carry about when most of the time it isn’t used. On the other hand, you could have a big lump of battery that doesn’t get used most of the time. My purely city car, a Mitsubishi iMiEV, has about the same amount of battery as the Volt. They both have enough battery to use electricity exclusively for local driving. If the iMiEV had multi-100s of km range, then it would have to carry about a lot of extra battery that would be unused most of the time.
            The petrol motor in the Gen1 Volt (all we got here) was the one GM had ready to go. It is a specially tuned version of the motor from the Cruze but otherwise nothing special. The Gen2 Volt has a very different motor.

          • Bill Sinclair 1 year ago

            Interesting, did the kit replace the original prius battery?

          • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

            I believe the kit put additional battery capacity in parallel with the original battery. A search with ‘prius battery conversion kit’ will find lots of info. CSIRO played around with a US kit about a decade ago as well. Some kits also modify the software to try to get the Prius to stay in EV-only mode up to higher speeds but I got the impression that was challenging with the low power electric motor. The one I tried did not have any software tweaks so it kept turning on the petrol engine with even the slightest amount of extra pressure on the accelerator, which made it hard to keep it using power from the battery.

          • Bill Sinclair 1 year ago

            The prius depending on variant has a largish motor(~45 to 60KW, but small battery ~30KW, it is a series/parallel hybrid.
            one would think, given a powerful battery and a change in the hybrid settings, that it would be able to maintain 100km (~10KW) easy enough. Maybe needs some software work, which I bet is very hard to access.
            I wonder what will happen to the price of 2nd hand outlanders when full electric cars arrive in numbers, could be a good time to buy one.

          • Bill Sinclair 1 year ago

            Thanks Peter, interesting, looks like batteries are not exactly in parallel, as they are only 48V, i am guessing they supply charge through a DC/DC converter, blurb I read said at 5kw, prius battery from memory is ~30 KW, so idea is to keep it charged longer. when I drove the outlander, it behaved like the prius, when extra power needed the petrol engine ran in parallel hybrid mode. All good fun

          • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

            The 3rd gen Prius battery is 1.3kWh, which is very small. It might be able to deliver 30kW but it won’t do that for very long! The amazing thing about the Prius battery is that it works hard yet lasts many years constantly topping up and discharging to moderate demands and recover energy from a petrol motor tuned for efficiency over low end torque, where an electric motor can fill in the deficiency. As I have been emphasising, the Prius is a fundamentally petrol car with some clever electrics used to improve its efficiency. That’s better than not having those efficiency gains but I’d rather a plug-in car, predominantly or entirely driven by electric motors and a battery big enough to avoid using any petrol all the time or nearly all the time.
            Even the plug-in version of the Prius available elsewhere has a still very small battery of 4.4kWh. By comparison, the Volt is around 16.5kWh depending on the version. I am not just picking on the Prius. Other plug-in hybrids have very small batteries which prevent them having the EV range to even cover local driving.
            It might well be that the additional kit battery is just used to top up via a converter rather than being simply paralleled.

          • Just_Chris 1 year ago

            I have driven the Outlander PHEV and it is as good a drive as any SUV ever needs to be.

  3. Robert Comerford 1 year ago

    Too many PHEV’s have nothing more than a joke battery only range.
    Hopefully Hyundai will improve the range on both the PHEV and the battery only models before being offered here.. The petrol only version should stay in Korea.
    First we need a network of rapid chargers in every town.

    • Just_Chris 1 year ago

      I agree that it would be nice to see a greater number of
      PHEV’s with larger batteries, in particular in large luxury vehicles that have
      both the space and the price tag to allow for it, but even a “joke”
      battery can result in large improvements in fuel economy for urban dwellers. A
      40-50% reduction in petrol use over a “normal” new car is worth
      having especially when you consider that the average Australian vehicle
      consumes 10-12 l/100 km. If you take that as your baseline (which I always struggle
      with as it is about double what I think it should be but it is the average) you
      could be getting an 80% reduction in fuel consumption and a 60% reduction in
      energy consumption with a pretty modest battery (30-50 km driving range). All
      of this really depends on your driving habits but with the Outlander Mitsubishi
      estimated that your average journey between
      charges would have to be around 100 miles before the Outlander PHEV consumed
      more fuel than its diesel stable mate. All that really means is that if you can’t
      plug it in to charge most nights then it will be as thirsty as a regular car
      which really should be a shocking conclusion.

      • Robert Comerford 1 year ago

        All cars should already be able to do the owners daily commute on battery only, the on board charger of a PHEV should be there for the occasional long distance trip. A minimum of a 100km battery range should be the target for any PHEV sold here. More would of course be better. :>)
        The charger should also be flexfuel capable.

        • Just_Chris 1 year ago

          I think on the whole I agree with you in the end we need greater electricifaction but I think what we need now, more than anything, is more choice in this sector. I have a Nissan leaf, it covers my entire driving needs with electric. I, like most Australians, live in a city so don’t drive far so a short range EV works fine, I don’t need or want to pay for an engine. There are plenty of ederly that only travel to the shops and back in their car, they do very many short journey’s so a PHEV with a 30-50 km range might eliminate most of their petrol usage, they also might not be comfortable with 100% electric. Obviously there are those that commute 100 km a day or who do long journey’s where a 30 km PHEV would make very little difference to their petrol usage. Batteries are not free and neither are the engineering compromises that you have to make to fit more of them in a car. A BMW i3 is great but it will always cost much more than a plugin prius with a small battery so I think there is a need for choice.

          This whole conversation is a bit irrelivent, however, unless there are cars that can be purchased in Australia at compariable price differentials to other markets with a low emission drive train of some description i.e. the difference between a base PHEV in the UK and a Base model ICE is about 34k pounds vs 25k pounds, in Australia it is $50k for a PHEV $28k for an ICE. It is the same for electric vs petrol if you compare a clio in the UK with a Zoe vs a Clio in Australia vs a Zoe – that is before any subsidy. Australia could reduce its vehicle emissions by 40% if we just purchased the best in class model (normally not availble in Australia) of exactly the same car we are currently driving but why would you? the car would probably costs more, petrol is relatively (compared to the rest of the world) cheap and there are no smog tests or any other emissions test that your car has to pass. In my opinion there is a classic market failure at play in the Aussie car market and we are doing nothing from a reglatory perspective to solve it.

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