Hyundai Ioniq PHEV Elite - Charging About Town


Our Ioniq PHEV has been working a little harder this month, the key in the possession of General Manager, Gavin Shaw. He gets around a bit during the week, and it’s been a good test to see how the PHEV performs when the average day’s travel well exceeds its EV range.

Words: Kyle Cassidy   |   Photos Tom Gasnier
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Mr Shaw lives further away from the office than your average Kiwi commuter. Somehow the powers that be worked out most of us urban dwelling Kiwis travel 29km on average to and from work each day, whereas it’s more like 40km for Shaw. And he does a great deal more travel during each working day. So what were the numbers?

He was in the seat for two weeks clocking up 1234km of about-town driving. While he intended to plug it in every night, it wasn’t always the case. Once he plugged it in but forgot to flick the switch, an easy mistake to make, and a few other times the cord didn’t quite make it out of the garage.

It isn’t quite optimised for nightly plug ins as the garage is crammed full of stuff like ‘rare and collectible’ pedal cars, bits for the Model T and things that Mrs Shaw would have liked seen repaired months ago.

For that 1234km, the trip computer suggested an average of 2.3L/100km

At first, Mr Shaw didn’t think much of the EV range, getting about 45 - 50km before it kicked into hybrid mode, and thought the oomph in the EV mode was fairly tepid. But compared with the firepower offered by his usual V6 Pathfinder, that was perhaps to be expected. He did however warm to its charms as around town running is what this is designed for.

The hatchback was up to muster in terms of interior space, proved easy to commute in and park, and he was considerably impressed with the lack of fuel used over the period. Where the big Pathfinder can chew through gas at a rate of up to 15L/100km in urban trawling, the PHEV Ioniq is much easier on the fuel reserves. For a quick recap, the plug-in has a quoted EV range of 63km and an overall fuel use figure of 1.1L/100km. While you will get around 50km of EV driving, the overall average does suffer if you’re not plugging in every night, and/or you’re doing higher than average kays.

So what were the figures? Drum roll please. For that 1234km, the trip computer suggested an average of 2.3L/100km, which was confirmed when we topped the tank up. The Ioniq’s four cylinder had used 28.98 litres of petrol, which works out to 2.35L/100km. For those that find economy easier to fathom than consumption, that’s 42km per litre, or in old timer language, 120mpg. So while our consumption figures were more than double the quoted average, those are still good numbers.

The Ioniq’s trip computer showed an average of 46km/h indicating there was a decent amount of motorway patrolling done, while the driving style display suggested 77 per cent of the time was spent economically, with 22 per cent of it undertaken in a normal manner. That left the aggressive style, which was just one per cent, and seems quite restrained for our Mr Shaw.

While it proved an economical mount for the job, some still question whether it’s worth the premium over conventional models. Even with the low fuel bills it’ll take years to recoup costs (Ioniq PHEV $60k, i30 $40k), and that’s assuming gas prices continue to rise. Those considering it will still need to buy it as a conscious choice rather than an economic one for its lower overall emissions.

Currently these plug-ins are a good intermediate step to going full electric, especially as the charging infrastructure develops. There’s no range concern, the distance to empty gauge can suggest in excess of 1000km, though it seems some still worry about the battery technology long term. There will always be technophobes, but Hyundai backs it up with a 10-year unlimited kilometre warranty for the high voltage battery.


If used as a taxi, the cover reverts to three year/100,000km. The battery can be topped up at some public charge points but it only has the option of AC charging; that’s ‘faster’ rather than rapid DC charging. At present rapid DC charging, when using those Charge Net outlets, is around four times the price of AC charging.

Such charge points however aren’t yet abundant and therefore convenient. Moreover, you don’t go out of your way to top-up as you have ICE power to get you home, where the vast majority of EV owners do their charging anyway. A home wall box is available for approximately $1750 installed, though that price can vary depending on what the sparkie needs to do. This drops the charge time from nearly eight to around 4.5hours.

This might be an option for the work place, enabling top ups because we’ve learnt that you should look at charge rates not so much in terms of total hours to refill a depleted battery but more from how much range you can gain per hour plugged in.

Next month we’ll wrap up our time with PHEV and share a few more thoughts on this technology.

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