Hyundai have announced key details of the next Ioniq Electric model for 2020, with a bigger battery- up to 38.3kWh useable. Hardly a surprise there. A modest increase, within the existing platform, sounds like a sensible but incremental step. 38kWh compared to the existing 28kWh means up to around 160 to 200 miles of range between charges, and let’s be honest, it’s enough for most of us in the UK. It’s not any bigger because the Ioniq platform, that enables hybrid and PHEV, remember, doesn’t have a huge volume available for a battery. (And note, Hyundai report useable capacity – compared to some other manufacturers still quoting gross capacity)
Add in some tech from the Kona, like more features on the regen side, a bit more motor power (100kW) and a revised grille with a similar price – all good.
The downside? Well, the battery is borrowed from the Kona 39, it has been reported that this means it has fewer cells. That probably means a lower system voltage, nominally 319V compared to 360V. So what? Well, charging power is dictated by the current available at the charger side, and the voltage of the battery. Power = (Volts * Amps). With a 125A charger, and 319V, you’d get 40kW out of an existing “50kW” Polar Ultracharger. That means 46 minutes to 80%, assuming 125A is available at a state of charge as high as 80%. That’s in line with the quoted 54 minutes to 80% from Hyundai, perhaps confirming the 319 volt setup.
However, even 40kW is looking optimistic if you look at experience of Kona 39 charging in cold weather. The rapid charging behaviour is significantly more conservative than the existing Ioniq.
To compare with other cars, a charging rate of “miles per hour” is useful, so this represents around 190 miles per hour added*. Not bad, but disappointing compared to the existing car which can reach 240 or so (or higher on chargers with a current limit of more than 125A – of which there are very few around in the UK, mid-2019).
How will the new car fare at higher power chargers? We don’t know yet. We do know that the existing car can reach up to 360 miles per hour charging*, so potentially the existing car might charge almost twice as fast as the new one.
[*:assumes 5 miles/kWh, quite easily achieved in an Ioniq Electric]
Where this new model makes sense is that most trips are a lot less than the range of this car. Most people don’t rapid charge very often, as it’s simply easier to charge at home overnight, or perhaps at work. The extra range means that you might only need one charge per week! You still get class-leading efficiency with lots of features for the price, circa £27k. To get any better probably takes a Tesla Model 3, or another £40k+ car – with the accompanying “luxury road tax” payable in the UK.