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Hyundai takes aim at Tesla's Model 3 with its bold electric Ioniq 5 crossover


Hyundai is the latest car maker to unleash a new electric vehicle on the market, and it has clear intentions of taking down the market-leading Tesla Model 3.

The Ioniq 5 is a bold new family-size crossover to be launched under the Korean manufacturer’s ‘Ioniq’ EV sub-brand this summer.

Reports suggest entry models will cost less than £40,000 – when subtracting the value of the Government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant – and it will be available with a choice of two battery sizes and a maximum driving range of 292 miles on a single charge.

The one and Ioniq: The Ioniq 5 is the first model in Hyundai's electric spin-off brand and will be on sale in the summer

The one and Ioniq: The Ioniq 5 is the first model in Hyundai’s electric spin-off brand and will be on sale in the summer

The new Hyundai will rival not only the most affordable Tesla but also Volkswagen’s latest ID model, the ID.4 SUV.

The Model 3 became the first electric vehicle to ever top a UK monthly sales chart, achieving the feat three times in 2020 – though during the early lockdown months of April and May and the final month of the year, when dealers were also under tough tiered restrictions.

The entry-spec version of Elon Musk’s most affordable model – the Model 3 Standard Range Plus – costs just over £40,000 in the UK and has a range of 278 miles.

As for the VW, early examples will offer a range of 323 miles and a starting price of £44,000 – though cheaper variants are due to be announced with shorter driving distances on a full charge. 

To ensure the Ioniq 5 has a fighting chance against tough competition like this, the car features market-leading 800-volt battery technology that allows for ultra-rapid charging times.

It's a crossover, combining hatchback design and SUV-like proportions - all powered by an electric drivetrain

It’s a crossover, combining hatchback design and SUV-like proportions – all powered by an electric drivetrain

Tesla Model 3

Volkswagen ID4 SUV

The major rivals will be the similarly-priced Tesla Model 3 (left) and new VW ID.4 (right)

To ensure the Ioniq 5 has a fighting chance against such tough competition, the car features market-leading 800-volt battery technology that allows for ultra-rapid charging times

To ensure the Ioniq 5 has a fighting chance against such tough competition, the car features market-leading 800-volt battery technology that allows for ultra-rapid charging times

Only models of the likes of Porsche’s ultra-expensive Taycan electric sports car have provided 800V capability until now. 

With it, the Hyundai supports up to 220kW DC charging, meaning a compatible rapid device can boost the battery capacity from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in 18 minutes. Customers will be able to add around 100km (62 miles) of range in just five minutes, the company claims.

Also unique at this price point is the facility for vehicle-to-grid charging, which isn’t yet available on EV rivals.

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It means that the car can not only become a mini generator to power devices but also push electricity back into the grid when not in use.

This could have financial benefits to motorists who could choose to supply energy to the network at peak times when it’s most expensive and then draw it back during cheaper periods. 

Using a compatible fast charger, Hyundai says the batteries can be charged from 10% to 80% capacity in just 18 minutes

Using a compatible fast charger, Hyundai says the batteries can be charged from 10% to 80% capacity in just 18 minutes

Plugging the car into a rapid charger for a mere 5 minutes will add 62 miles of range to the batteries

Plugging the car into a rapid charger for a mere 5 minutes will add 62 miles of range to the batteries

It also has vehicle-to-grid charging, which means that the car can not only become a mini generator to power devices but also push electricity back into the grid when not in use

It also has vehicle-to-grid charging, which means that the car can not only become a mini generator to power devices but also push electricity back into the grid when not in use

Hyundai Ioniq 5: Two battery sizes on offer 

When it does hit showrooms in a matter of months, buyers will have a choice of two different battery sizes.

The smaller unit is 58kWh while the bigger 72.6kWh pack will provide a range of up to 292 miles. Both with be available with the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive.

Performance won’t be lacking; the most potent version with the larger battery and all-wheel-drive setup will produce 302bhp and be capable of accelerating from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds. 

Even the relative slouch of the range with the smaller battery pack and drive sent only to the rear wheels will hit 62mph in a respectable 8.5 seconds. Top speeds will be limited to 115mph.

Two battery options will be available: The smaller unit is 58kWh while the bigger 72.6kWh pack will provide a range of up to 292 miles. Both with be available with the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive

Two battery options will be available: The smaller unit is 58kWh while the bigger 72.6kWh pack will provide a range of up to 292 miles. Both with be available with the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive

The most potent version - one with the larger battery and all-wheel-drive setup - will produce 302bhp and be capable of accelerating from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds

The most potent version – one with the larger battery and all-wheel-drive setup – will produce 302bhp and be capable of accelerating from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds

The top speed across all versions of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 will be limited to 115mph, as to not drain the batteries too quickly if someone does keep their foot planted on an Autobahn

The top speed across all versions of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 will be limited to 115mph, as to not drain the batteries too quickly if someone does keep their foot planted on an Autobahn

While this won’t challenge the range-topping Tesla Model S Performance (which can hit 60mph in 3.1 seconds but costs £60,000), it does mean the Ioniq 5 will be a good match for the more affordable variant of the UK maker’s smallest vehicle. 

Being the first of a range of Ioniq models launched by Hyundai, the 5 debuts the brand’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which – like rivals – features the hefty batteries spread across the floorpan to improve weight distribution and also increase interior space.

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The same platform, though extended, will also underpins the Korean car company’s forthcoming larger EVs, the Ioniq 6 saloon and Ioniq 7 SUV. 

The Ioniq 5 debuts Hyundai's all-new purpose built EV platform that will also underpins the Korean car company's forthcoming larger Ioniq 6 saloon and Ioniq 7 SUV

The Ioniq 5 debuts Hyundai’s all-new purpose built EV platform that will also underpins the Korean car company’s forthcoming larger Ioniq 6 saloon and Ioniq 7 SUV

Hyundai Ioniq 5: Will it fit in my garage? 

On sale: From the summer

Price from: £45,000 ‘Project 45’ launch edition

Entry price: approx £38,000

Wheelbase: 3,000mm

Length: 4,635 mm

Width: 1,890 mm

Height: 1,605 mm

Platform: Electric-Global Modular Platform

Maximum Driving Range (WLTP): 470~480km (292-298 miles) 

Standard Range

Battery capacity: 58kWh 

AWD

Power: 173kW (Front and Rear combined)

Torque: 605Nm (Front and Rear combined)

0-62mph: 6.1 seconds

2WD 

Power: 125kW

Torque: 350Nm

0-62mph: 8.5 seconds  

Long Range

Battery capacity: 72.6kWh

AWD

Power: 225kW (Front and Rear combined)

Torque: 605Nm (Front and Rear combined)

0-62mph: 5.2 seconds

2WD

Power: 160kW

Torque: 350Nm

0-62mph: 7.4 seconds

Boot capacity: 531 litres (1,591 litres when second-row seats are fully folded)

Front trunk or ‘frunk’: 57 l litres (2WD) or 24 litres (AWD)

 

Like Tesla, Hyundai has opted for a super-minimalist interior, with hardly any buttons scattered across the dashboard

Like Tesla, Hyundai has opted for a super-minimalist interior, with hardly any buttons scattered across the dashboard

Dominating the cockpit is a 12-inch display with two screens - one for infotainment and the other acting as the instrument cluster for the driver

Dominating the cockpit is a 12-inch display with two screens – one for infotainment and the other acting as the instrument cluster for the driver

SUV-like space with ultra-comfortable seating 

What’s underneath the new Hyundai might be incredibly interesting but it’s the bold statement looks that could appeal to buyers most. 

While it might look compact in these initial images, but it measures in at 4635mm long and 1605mm tall, which is around the same as a Honda CR-V SUV.

Its hulking proportions are well masked by clean lines, a front-end design dominated by squinted headlights in a narrow grille and squared rear brake lights at the back.

From the car’s profile, it reminds us of modern-classic hot hatchback silhouettes – Mk1 VW Golf GTI and Lancia Delta Integrale, in particular.  

The Ioniq 5 is unlike any other EV in this segment in that it offers flexible seating, with chairs that can independently be moved around the cabin

The Ioniq 5 is unlike any other EV in this segment in that it offers flexible seating, with chairs that can independently be moved around the cabin

The front seats recline all the way back, with the front passenger chair going almost flat

The front seats recline all the way back, with the front passenger chair going almost flat

The large proportions also translate to plenty of cabin and luggage space, with a boot offering up to 531 litres of storage with the seatbacks in the upright position, or a colossal 1,600 litres of lugging room with them folded down.

Inside, the Ioniq 5 follows a similar theme as used by Tesla, with a very minimalist cabin dominated by a large – 12-inches in this case – display.

This spans across two screens, the second of which sits behind the simplistic steering wheel to relay information to the driver. 

Another first for the Korean brand is the car’s Advanced Head-Up Display, featuring augmented reality functions – something yet to be seen in a Hyundai at any price point. 

But not only is the Hyundai packed with connectivity and smart tech, the interior is more flexible than most cars – electric or internal combustion engined – at this price point,

The seats can slide forwards and back and recline – in the case of the front passenger seat almost entirely flat. 

The cabin materials are almost entirely made from sustainable materials, says Hyundai

The cabin materials are almost entirely made from sustainable materials, says Hyundai

Synthetic fabrics consisting of recycled plastic bottles, wool and leather are processed with vegetable oil. Even the door trims are made from a form of recycled paper

Synthetic fabrics consisting of recycled plastic bottles, wool and leather are processed with vegetable oil. Even the door trims are made from a form of recycled paper

The dashboard even has a small area for the driver to pin photos of their loved ones

The dashboard even has a small area for the driver to pin photos of their loved ones

They are also made from sustainable materials, as is the rest of the interior, with synthetic fabrics consisting of recycled plastic bottles, wool and leather processed with vegetable oil. Even the door trims are made from a form of recycled paper.

The centre console is also movable, sliding 140mm to provide an arm rest for those up front or a wireless phone charging solution for passengers in the back. 

When the car does go on sale in the summer, it will first be sold as a high-spec launch version called the ‘Project 45’, with a price tag of £45,000 – including the Government’s electric-car subsidy.

When cheaper variants follow, entry prices are expected to start from around £38,000.

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