Hyundai has announced that its incorporating the use of Amazon Alexa into most of its new vehicles, including the upcoming IONIQ Electric.
According to Hyundai, owners of compatible vehicles will be able to use Echo for simple voice commands, including charging:
“Owners of the all-new Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Plug-in Electric vehicles are able to start and stop charging of their cars with the ease of simple voice commands with Blue Link.”
The Plug-in hybrid Sonata shares this functionality as well.
Of course, the cars won’t be able to start or stop charging unless you’ve manually plugged them in (this is where wireless charging would be preferred), but still it seems like a rather nifty feature to be able to make use of from time to time.
Additional commands (not plug-in specific) include
Owner: “Alexa, ask Blue Link to start charging my Ioniq.”
Alexa: “Request for remote charging your Ioniq has been sent.”
Owner: “Alexa, tell Blue Link to start my car at 80 degrees.”
Alexa: “Request for remote starting your car with climate control has been sent.”
Owner: “Alexa, ask Blue Link to lock my Santa Fe.”
Alexa: “Request for remote locking your Santa Fe has been sent.”
Check out the brief video showing how the vehicle’s interact with Amazon Echo below:
Together with my wife I set off to our local Hyundai dealer in Hendon for a test drive of the all-electric IONIQ Premium.
We are currently Leaf drivers and thinking of upgrading to the 30 kWh version. However, given the very positive range reports being given for the IONIQ, it made sense to try it as a possible alternative.
It was a booked test drive so we were disappointed to be kept waiting an extra 30 minutes, but eventually we got to go on the road.
My wife had her turn first, and took a few minutes to run over the controls and get everything set up. Our host took us on a route through rather slow, congested roads, so there was little chance to swoop on the open road. However, my wife enjoyed adjusting the regenerative braking to different levels and feeling the effect, as well as switching between the ECO, NORMAL and SPORT modes of drive. What she didn’t like was the bar across the back window where the spoiler is placed. Apparently, this is a major contributor to a low drag coefficient, but because they add glass below the spoiler, it does look a bit odd from the inside. I didn’t mind it myself.
After a few miles we swapped over and I enjoyed the feel of the sporty steering wheel. The layout of the controls was good and intuitive; I certainly preferred the steering wheel paddles for adjusting the regenerative levels, against the rather tiresome central lever in the Leaf. Eventually we came to a spot of more open road, and I was pleased at the sporty feel of the car to the throttle, even with 3 adults inside. As ever, the instantaneous response of an electric drive was satisfying (petrol automatics always have an annoying lag). We also saw some of the advanced driver support features such as accidental lane change warnings and car follow.
And of course, it has all the usual features of satnav, timers to pre-heat the car in the morning, and a good stereo. Unusually it doesn’t have an app to allow you to trigger pre-heat from your phone.
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is the latest addition to a growing class of city-friendly battery-powered hatchbacks. We pit it against its rivals
The electric vehicle market is growing, so we’ve collected the Hyundai Ioniq, Volkswagen E-Golf, BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf together to see which comes out on top.
A watched EV never boils. More to the point, it doesn’t bleep, flash, pop, ping or do anything else that you might imagine an all-electric hatchback ought to do to indicate a completed charge. Shame. I like the idea of a Nissan Leaf gradually browning, wafting warm toast smells in every direction, before spontaneously hopping three feet into the air like a slice of Warburton’s ready for the butter knife.
It would at least make an interesting spectacle in the motorway services car park in which we’re now waiting. We’ve got four brand-new battery cars lined up in front of Ecotricity’s fast chargers, each suckling almost noiselessly in turn from the national grid, before setting off on an exercise we’ve been waiting a long time to carry out.
It was six years ago that the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV first tested the appetite of drivers all over the developed world for a compact, affordable electric hatchback. It’s an appetite that’s needed plenty of encouragement, but it’s finally growing at something close to the rate those evangelical early market entrants had hoped for. Viewed globally, the market for pure EVs and plug-in hybrids will total more than 600,000 cars this year, up about 50% year on year. Just over half of all those ‘plug-in’ cars sold this year will be wholly electric-powered.
More important, as concerns today’s agenda, the all-electric hatchback market now provides the UK motorist with enough choice to populate a full Autocar group test. Welcome, then, the new Hyundai Ioniq Electric to UK showrooms. And allow us to introduce it to the similarly priced, all-electric rivals against which its stature must be measured: the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and BMW i3.
Having followed the early-stage development of these zero-emissions pioneers, we’ve become used to the strengths and limitations of electric propulsion at the affordable end of the ownership spectrum. An £80,000 Tesla may already offer the sort of cruising range it takes to replace internal combustion in a car for almost any occasion or journey, but a £25,000 Leaf doesn’t – and probably won’t for a few years yet.
Where affordable EVs have already shown strength is when performing as responsive, relaxing, cost-efficient short-range transport, in the role typically served by the second car in a family. And that’s how we’re going to test today’s field. We’ve plotted a route across north London, taking in some of its most congested streets and winding up at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Newham. We simply want to know which of these cars would serve you best with predominantly urban use in mind.
Before we set off, time for a quick poke around our newbie: the Hyundai Ioniq. The Leaf, i3 and e-Golf are well known to us, all having been the subject of Autocar road tests over the past few years and all serving customers looking for slightly different things from their first EV. And rather than competing for exactly the same customers as any of its new-found rivals, the Ioniq definitely adds to the breadth of choice in the market.
Apart from another opportunity to make poor Alanis Morissette-based jokes, this is our first chance to drive the all-electric version of the Hyundai Ioniq on UK roads. If that name looks familiar, that’s because we’ve already sampled the hybrid version.
With a plug-in hybrid to follow, the Ioniq is a key part of Hyundai’s plan to have 22 ‘green’ cars in its range by 2020. Underneath all three versions is the same platform that underpins the Kia Niro. There’s plenty of high-strength steel to help rigidity, along with aluminium panels and other componentry to reduce weight.
Unlike the Niro and the two hybrid Ioniqs, the all-electric version does without independent multi-link rear suspension, despite costing nearly £29,000 before any government grant. There is good reason for the fitment of a torsion beam rear axle, though. As it’s more compact, Hyundai has been able to shoehorn in a larger battery pack without sacrificing too much boot space.
Indeed, the lithium ion cells have enough juice to give the Ioniq a maximum potential range of 174 miles. Like official fuel economy figures, we’d take that number with a pinch of salt. Even so, you’re still left with enough range to make all but the longest commute viable. The question is whether you’d want to spend an hour or two every day in one.
What’s it like?
With 118bhp, the Electric may be the least powerful Ioniq, but it is, nevertheless, the fastest. A substantial 218Ib ft of torque from rest and no pauses to change gear result in a 0-62mph time that just squeaks under 10 seconds. At urban speeds, the Ioniq feels even quicker than that.
That instant torque can overwhelm the economy-biased tyres, though. In the wet, the traction control has to cut in hard if you try to accelerate quickly. Turn it off and the Ioniq will spin its front wheels all the way up to 35mph.
Not that performance is really a selling point of the Ioniq, more a handy by-product of the electric powertrain. More important is the smooth power delivery and complete absence of vibration from under the bonnet. Like other electric cars, it proves far more serene than a diesel or even petrol engine.
This is a quick introduction to using the Hyundai Ioniq Electric. It is intended to give just the basic information required for a test drive, use of an Ioniq Electric from a hire/rental company, or to get your Ioniq Electric home the day you buy it.
The Ioniq is a four door car (with pull handles) with a button release tailgate.
Helpful hint: Each time you open the tailgate wipe clean the lens of the rear camera.
Ioniq uses keyless entry, i.e. it opens electronically via a key fob rather than with a physical key. There are two methods of entry:
Unlock and lock the doors using the second button on the key fob.
Press the small black button in either of the front door handles and then pull the handle.
To start the car:
The key fob must be somewhere inside the car.
Press and hold the brake pedal and press the Start/Stop button to the left of the steering wheel.
The electronic controls activate with a melodic jingle and the Ioniq lights up the dashboard in a colourful manner as it checks that all is well.
A green car graphic (left of the speedometer) shows you are ready to select drive and move off.
To select Drive press the D button on the centre console with foot still on brake. The ‘Handbrake’ will release automatically.
Note that the Ioniq has been programmed with ‘creep’, i.e. it will move forward like an automatic even when the accelerator is not pressed.
The Ioniq has both conventional and electronic brakes. The physical brakes (discs & pads) only operate at low speeds. At all faster speeds pressing the brake pedal will cause the electric motor (engine) to become a generator and this ‘regeneration’ creates a significant braking force as it puts power back into the battery.
Helpful hint: Because the physical brakes are used so little they can accumulate debris/rust and make scratching/squeeking noises when the car first drives off. It’s nothing to be concerned about and usually stops after the first couple of uses.
The car generates sound at low speed to warn pedestrians of your presence (up to about 20mph). Helpful hint: VESS (Virtual Engine Sound System) can be switched off but it is switched on by default each time the car is activated.
Once in Drive mode you can accelerate up to maximum speed (about 105mph) without changing gear.
You can come to a complete stop in Drive. Whilst still on the brake, press P during short stops (traffic, etc). To drive again brake and D.
If you are stopping for any length of time you should then engage the handbrake. Lift the control at the rear of the centre console. Lift for on and lift again for off (you may hear a whirring sound each time).
To turn off completely use the Start/Stop button.
Helpful hint: If the keys were placed in the car remember to pick them up when leaving.
The car will auto lock after a short while once the key is out of range (1.5m) but for security just press the first button on the fob.
Ensure the car is in Park mode, the handbrake is engaged and the motor is off.
Release the charging port door using the button to the right of the steering wheel.
Ensure the charge point is powered up and ready (the Morrisons Supermarket free charge point, below, shows a green light). Remove the dust cover from the cable connector and plug it in.
The charging port door is located over the rear nearside (left) wheel. Remove the dust covers from both the cable connector and socket. Plug in the cable. The connector displays a white light when it is properly seated. The cable is now locked in place and cannot be pulled free.
If charging from a public charge point, at this point you need to initiate a charge (the method will depend on the charge point model).
The IONIQ dashboard shows blue lights when it is charging.
The car should be locked if unattended, but operating the locks and doors has no effect on the charge operation.
Release the charge cable connector using the second button on the key fob (two clicks on the unlock button) and withdraw the connector.
Replace the dust covers on the cable and the car socket. Close the charging port door; charging is complete.
Where were we? Ah yes. I have my Ecotricity* Android App and my Chargemaster Polar RFID card. I’m ready for the big leagues. Rapid high current charging here I come. “Gather yourself woman!” I said. “We’re off into the countryside”.
An hour out from Milton Keynes, we’re tootling down the M40 on a misty Saturday afternoon and the Memsahib challenges Satnag to guide us home. Duly programmed Satnag does its thing and Ioniq interrupts proceedings with a message of gloom and disaster.
“You will never see your destination. Doom! Doom again! Woe betide the fool that tries to… ”.
Well that’s what it felt like and now I know what Range Anxiety (RA) can do to a fella. It’s not nice.
The actual message? “You have insufficient charge to reach your destination”. And then as an afterthought “Would you like to know the nearest defibrillator?” or did it say “charge point”? You get how I’m feeling.
Five miles later we arrive at Moto Cherwell Valley. Some semblance of cognition kicks in as I remember that electric charge points aren’t located near the liquid fuels and we play hunt the charge point in the car park.
Look, as evidenced in this image… We won 🙂
We didn’t know yet but something was wrong. Not the process, no, that was fine. Introductions went well:
Phone, App – Say hello to – Charge point.
Charge point – Phone App.
Electronic handshaking takes place. This is so much easier than I expected. “Do you accept the cost?”. I accepted. Grudgingly. I don’t have my free charges yet but £6 is still a bargain.
Found the AC connector. It looked exactly like the one at home (some of you are jumping ahead) and Click! The blue charging lights coming on the App assures me I’ll be told when to come back.
RA sorted, I notice that my back teeth are floating and the cold isn’t helping. Time to get in out of the cold and find the toilets.
Just consider that a moment. Find the toilets.
Why would I have to try to find the toilets? More to the point why would any public place hide the ^%$%ing toilets? I have visited facilities in many service stations. They’ve always been near the entrance and clearly labelled. Moto Cherwell Valley believe otherwise**. Plan accordingly if you stop there.
Mind, body and spirit at ease we look dotingly out of the window at eMotor suckling at the Ecotricity teat. All is well with the world. You know it isn’t but we don’t. Yet.
Let me offer you some simple advice for these times. Bring a book or magazine or something. If it’s going to be a flask and some sandwiches stay in the car so as to avoid being turfed out for not buying anything.
Forty minutes later, I’m feeling concerned. There has been no word from App. We go back to eMotor and the charge lights are off. I’m not concerned any more. We can be on our way and I’ll take App to task later.
In five minutes time I will be talking to a helpful young man (Victor) at ecotricity.
Pre-launch checks show we now have sixteen more miles than what we came in with.
What? Sixteen? One six? Not six zero? Grrrrr at all things electric!
“Breathe” She says. I breathe.
“That cost me six quid!” I breathe again.
“Where’s my phone?” I breathe again.
There’s a number on the charge point if you have any problem.
Turns out that there were two charge points and I parked at the wrong one. You live and learn.
BTW – The Ioniq eMotor? It is a fantastic machine. Pure pleasure to drive.
Bye for now. I’ll be in touch.
*Yes their logo is ecotricity but I believe in Capitalization for proper nouns.
** Enter building***. Fight through crowd. Pass the hot drinks turn right. Fight through crowd armed with hot drinks and food. Look into the distance on the left side there is a small sign about two thirds of the way down. Small sign with even smaller logos representing the genders.
***If you exit the building to the outdoor seated area the doors open automatically so you can look at you eMotor unobstructed. When you walk back in mind your nose (or other protuberance), the doors do not open of their own accord.
One week into the new and exciting world of my new eMotor and I’m looking to venture further afield.
Home charging is easy, if a little long with a 13amp plug and I eagerly await my 32 amp POD Point to take advantage of cheap night rate electricity. It’s still called Economy 7 you know, just like it used to be way back when.
I mentioned in my previous post I was tackling range anxiety. Doing so within the confines of Milton Keynes (MK) seemed sensible. It was fun using sport mode to drain the battery 🙂
At eighteen miles range remaining all the appropriate warning lights went off (came on?) and…
I continued driving!
Yup. I continued. I’m that kind of chap.
Brave huh? Yes, for a given value of brave. Eco mode made me feel a little more secure.
After a couple of miles of tormenting lights, prudence reared her head and I agreed with her. It was time for me to tackle my first rapid charge.
Dear reader please forgive me as I wave my ignorance at you in the following.
I pulled over, stopped and pressed lots of buttons* (no manual yet). Within moments I had a map of Milton Keynes and dozens of choices to hoover up some power. Ooh how happy and clever I felt.
It didn’t last.
Broughton is a newer area in MK so I chose to explore it and fill up there. Yes, since you ask, it happened to be the nearest point. Remember, I’m working on my range anxiety.
If I’d known the area I would’ve stayed on the main road and seen the chargers by the local shops. I didn’t. Satnag** said turn right into Cavan Way and I did. The location of the charger and the satnav were at odds by approximately one road and two hundred yards. I’ll remember that in future searches.
I parked (reversing cameras are great) and tackled the Monolith. Which cable/connector to use? Easy I know my plug options. Now, where do I pay? Ok. Sigh. I’ll read the instructions. Bu**er!
Yeah, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind you needed a card but surely I can just buy some electric? Just a little bit for cash? Eh? Hole in the wall technology right? Wrong. Holes in the wall are mostly for getting money out not for putting it in.
I closed my recharging flap (that’s not a euphemism) and did the walk of ignorance and shame back to my comfy leather seat. It felt further than the three paces. The heated seat and steering wheel cheered me until I was back at home with my three pin plug.
So take heed brave new adventurers, preparation is required to charge away from home.
I have now joined the Chargemaster Polar Network and Ecotricity (for the motorway free charges). Currently the Polar network has a six month offer free of standing charge. I’ll review my use of their service in May 🙂
One other thing. eMotors are eligible for free parking in MK once you have a green permit. Apply on line at the MK Council website.
BTW – The Ioniq eMotor? It is a fantastic machine. Pure pleasure to drive.
Bye for now. I’ll be in touch.
* The next day I noticed a horrible whining noise. My shock and disappointment convinced me a motor bearing was on the way out. Hang on what’s that light? Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) active. Not now it isn’t.
It is a fantastic machine. Pure pleasure to drive. I was not expecting to ever feel like this about motoring again.
Driving the Ioniq EV is simple:
Walk up to the car with the key in your pocket, press the button on the drivers door and pull the handle.
Once the driver’s door closes the driver’s seat moves to its designated position (nice).
There is no ignition switch.
Push and hold the foot brake pedal and press the start button to activate the car. The dash board display is lovely as it runs through its start up checks. Hold the foot brake, press ‘D’ on the centre console and the car is ready.
Press the right pedal and enjoy.
Fantastic machine. Pure pleasure to drive. Did I say that yet?
Regenerative Braking – I love this. I have it set to the highest level and 95% of the time I only use the right pedal (can’t very well call it the gas pedal) to go faster or slower.
Roomy – Five adults with no bother (No noticeable loss of performance :o)
Comfy – Heated and vented front seats.
Super safety features (inc all round air bags and sensors).
Cheap servicing – Five years up front cost £290.83
An incredible amount of electronic features.
Three driving modes. Eco, Normal and Sport.
Range. I am mainly using Normal (and occasionally Sport mode :o). The more it learns about my driving style the more I’m getting from each charge. After four cold frosty days and two charges my initial range has increased from 91 miles (at delivery) to 135 miles. I expect that to increase with warmer weather and Eco mode.
None for the Ioniq itself. It’s a fantastic machine… Sorry off topic for a moment.
The problems I’ve had were due to Hyundai’s launch team.
No EV manuals (for staff or customer) were available!
There are an incredible amount of electronic features, most of which I have had to work out for myself. I have a copy of the Hybrid manual but it doesn’t address my EV specific questions.
No service manual available at delivery.
The delivery Check list that we worked through prior to my acceptance of the car didn’t include unplugging it from a charge point (Double clicking the unlock button seems to be the answer). Having a manual would have helped. A lot.
Overcoming Range Anxiety
I’m currently running the battery down to reset my anxiety level.
Previously if my diesel was down to 30 miles I became anxious because it gave no further indication of range and I’d top it up pronto. With the far more accurate range indicator of my Ioniq I am comfortable driving towards ’empty’ confident in what it’s telling me.
Being an EV owner
What can I say? I am very, very pleased. Almost smug.
Compared to my Kia Cee’d (£60 per fill and rising) it’s wonderful getting my fuel from home and it only costing £8 in instalments* to travel the same distance.
We are planning to tour the UK soon and hope to take full advantage of being an Ecotricity customer (Rapid free charging at motorway service stations). I’ll let you know.
My thanks to Trevor Larkum for guiding me through the transition to EV driving. I think everyone should have a knowledgeable friend when going electric. His help has taken the fear out of this.
Thanks also to Bletchley Hyundai for supplying the car so quickly and their unwavering support for the lack of manuals.