How does Hyundai continue to do this? It seems like they roll out new models, or upgraded current models, the way Old Navy rolls out t-shirts. Most car manufacturers work on a product cycle ranging over multiple years between refreshes, let alone new models. Hyundai recently announced the new 2017 Ioniq hybrid and electric models will be in dealer showrooms soon.
Hyundai, and in all fairness, their fellow countrymen Kia, have a turn around time like a ballerina from the Kirov. Others, when confronted with a game-changer like a Tesla Model S or a Toyota Prius, took forever to respond.
Hyundai just seemed to shrug and say, “okay, we can do that.” And they did.
Eco Minded, Safety Oriented
What Hyundai did with their Ioniq models really starts with three eco-focused electrified powertrains. The Ioniq offers a smooth, aerodynamic silhouette with an impressive 0.24 coefficient drag. Hyundai says that low figure is all down to careful surface design, and not little aero tricks like underbody work or movable flip-ups and the like.
On the inside, the Ioniq has all the bells and whistles buyers want, or car manufacturers believe we want. You get all of your connectivity features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Blue Link, and even wireless charging for your smartphone. There’s a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster that displays all important driver info. You also get all the latest safety gee-gaws like Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
Yes, we should really be paying more attention, but no, we never seem to, hence you get stuff like this.
It’s under the hood where things are most interesting, drivetrain tech-wise.
Engine & Transmission Tech
The Ioniq Hybrid and Plugin Hybrid models both feature a new, Kappa 1.6L direct-injected, Atkinson-cycle four cylinder engine as the main motivator. The Atkinson-cycle helps the plant get a remarkable thermal efficiency of 40 percent. The engine puts out 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft. of torque, which is not bad.
In the Ioniq, the Kappa plant has been shaped for its hybrid application and is combined with a quick-shifting, six speed double-clutch transmission known as the EcoShift. The transmission makes use of low-friction bearings and low-viscosity oil.
The electric motor is said to operate at speeds up to 75 mph and is tweaked to deliver lots of low end torque. That electric motor supplies 32 kW (43 horsepower) with a maximum torque output of 125 lb-ft. Power comes from a lithium-ion polymer battery with a 1.56 kWh capacity. The battery pack is located under the rear passenger seat, which helps with weight distribution.
So if you add up all the power plants, you get a total system output of 139 horsepower with an impressive EPA-estimated 58 mpg combined rating. Hyundai says that’s the highest rating of any non-plug-in vehicle sold in the United States. The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid delivers an all-electric range of more than 27 miles, says Hyundai, which is good enough for short trips to grocery store and the like.
If you want to opt for the all electric Ioniq model with the 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, your estimated driving range will be 124 miles. In the Ioniq Electric, the motor has a maximum output of 88 kW (118 horsepower) and 218 lb-ft. of torque. As far as efficiency goes, the Ioniq Electric has an EPA-estimated 136 MPGe rating. Hyundai says that’s the highest efficiency rating of any electric vehicle sold on the U.S. market, which probably bugs Elon Musk to no end.
Hyundai did not specify any prices, but c’mon. If Hyundais are known for anything, it’s not being overpriced. Ioniq owners will eventually receive welcome kits explaining the benefits, location, and use of the ChargePoint network, which is accessible through the MyHyundai/Blue Link app.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.
Photos & Source: Hyundai Motor America.