1 month ago

My Green Weekend With An Electric Car


Climate change activist Holly Hughes avails of a chance to try the new Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric should, in my opinion, be known as the Iconic. This all-electric, sleek, seductive five-door hatch – which also comes in plug-in hybrid and regular hybrid options – is the stuff, not of dreams, but rather the utopian world I didn’t even know I could dream about, as I discovered last weekend.

I am 26 and live, like most 20-somethings working in Dublin city centre, in a nearby suburb. Originally from West Cork and desk-bound Monday to Friday, at weekends I dream of escaping the urban sprawl. I am something of a climate warrior. I try to play my part in reducing my carbon footprint in every way I can. I use public transport where possible, I never use single-use plastics, I observe a reduced meat diet and I shop less and invest more in things that last. But, having a vehicle that can transport me and friends to our regular weekend cliff rambles without polluting the natural world is something I know I would love to have.

My quest to find the right drive began last weekend with my first test-drive ever. The Ioniq Electric five-door hatch is an all-electric, zero-emissions automatic whose usability makes light of city traffic and whose range (312km on a single charge) allows you plan return trips without worrying about the closest charging station. When on the road, the in-car touchscreen (that I’ve lovingly christened ‘Godsend’) also gives you a detailed breakdown of nearby charging stations so you won’t ever be caught out. 

With the weather warnings about Storm Dennis on my mind, I spent Saturday accomplishing errands in the Ioniq, whizzing to my local Oxfam to deposit bags of clothing donations and stocking up at the Dublin Food Co-Op. For a trip to the latter you need a car to avail of the value but a clear conscience to justify using one: the environmental credentials of the Ioniq meant guilt-free bulk replenishment of my store cupboards. I am someone who feels guilty about undertaking local trips by car (classing them Teresa-Mannion style as unnecessary journeys). The Ioniq produces zero emissions and boasts three driving modes – Normal, Sport and Eco. I resisted the temptation to enact a scene from Top Gear (but you could!) and stuck to the Eco setting which optimises battery life and therefore further reduces the carbon footprint. Features like a rear camera and guidance system and helpfully automatic door mirrors make city driving in this car a pleasure – never before have I used the phrase “parallel parking” and the word “ease” in the same sentence.

Sunday dawned and with conditions windy and showery rather than stormy, a pre-arranged drive down the Wicklow Way before a two-hour hike, pub lunch then return journey home was still on the agenda. Pals on board, walking boots and wet gear in the capacious boot, the main topic of conversation was just how cool was this interior? Heated seats and lumbar supports for driver and front seat passenger. Leather wrapped steering wheel. Other design details are super-luxe: the aforementioned sleek 10.5cm touchscreen console, the chrome trim and door handles, convenient steering wheel audio, phone and cruise controls, Bluetooth connectivity, wireless phone charging pad and multiple cup holders. The interior feels spacious, modern and very ergonomic. 

Design apart, the driving experience was superb. There is often an assumption that electric cars are a bit feeble in terms of performance. This is emphatically not the case with the Ioniq: this latest version has been beefed up to 38.3KWH, a third more than the 2017 version. Acceleration is 0-60 kmph in ten seconds. There’s a Lane Departure Warning System with Lane Keep Assist and automatic windscreen wipers and rain sensors, and with four passengers on board in wet road conditions, post a jolly pub lunch, I really appreciated these features.As we returned from the hills, the Ioniq translated our battery usage into kilometres available, displaying the distance at our disposal before a recharge would be required. What I most enjoyed was that my battery usage reflected the decisions I made – using heat rather than wearing a jumper, switching to Sports mode to get to my destination faster – the link between often unconscious decisions and fuel consumption is visible. This feature more than any reinforced the Ioniq’s main point of difference: no petrol or diesel needed, no precious fossil fuels would be consumed. Switching to the Ioniq also offers real financial value with savings on fuel, tax, and attractive benefit-in-kind incentives for company car customers. BIK savings can be calculated on Hyundai’s calculator and are in the region of €500 a month for employees. This is excluding fuel, toll, and employer PRSI savings.

All in all, it turned out there was only one unnecessary journey made that weekend as far as I was concerned. And that was the sad return of my Ioniq to Hyundai. I recommend you book a test drive yourself: visit www.hyundai.ie for a full dealer listing.

The Hyundai Ioniq retails at €34,850 excluding delivery and related charges and comes with an eight-year warranty.


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