9 July 2020
Sadly it’s time to wave a fond farewell to our Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid that we’ve been running for the past six months.
It hasn’t been the most straight-forward of previous half years, mainly due to the lockdown but also because we had moved house just before the Ioniq arrived. That’s been good for us testing its more practical abilities and also our average mpg (more of which in a moment), but perhaps not so good for our total mileage.
In those six months we’ve covered just 1311 miles, which under normal circumstances would see us handing a car back with slight embarrassment. Neither lockdown nor a need to get settled in a new home have been conducive to long trips.
The big surprises have still come thick and fast though. Running a plug-in hybrid hasn’t been without its challenges (notably trying to get a charging point fitted to our new home – six months and counting…), but few of them have been insurmountable. Using a standard three-pin household plug certainly hasn’t been the hardship that we might have imagined and being attentive to keeping it charged has paid dividends with our average fuel economy – as we handed it back it had just ticked up to 110mpg.
We also weren’t banking on the Ioniq being quite so practical either. The Hyundai’s 341-litre boot is shallow, but that only represented a minor challenge on one occasion when packing for a half term holiday back in February. At all other times though, it has swallowed Ikea cupboard doors, 2.4m-long wood sleepers and multiple trips to the local dump.
Any criticisms? Under normal circumstances, the slightly brittle ride quality would certainly have come in for more vitriol had we undergone more long distance journeys and the same goes for Ioniq’s almost total lack of driver involvement. This is definitely not a dynamic car to drive, but if we’re honest, our circumstances both global and domestic, have meant that that just hasn’t been a major issue for us in the past six months. The warm glow of a well-executed corner at speed has instead been replaced by the same feeling as that trip computer pinged the mpg into three figures. Few things feel as good as a wallet unopened. Just call me Company Car Today’s resident Scrooge…
Short lockdown journeys to deliver shopping to nearby relatives and other domestic necessities were all done almost exclusively under electric power, meaning that filling stations visits were few and far between. It got collected still with two-thirds of the same tank that I filled up back in March.
The Hyundai’s plug-in tech undoubtedly underlines that regular charging and plenty of short journeys pay dividends. Without doubt, the Ioniq has provided near-perfect pandemic motoring.
25 June 2020
We have to open this latest long-term report on our Hyundai Ioniq plug-on hybrid with a caveat: no car interiors were harmed in the making of this report.
In fact, we’ve been feeling rather guilty about our usage of our Ioniq during lockdown. Our latest DIY jobs have involved building a flowerbed which meant buying and collecting 2.4-metre long wooden sleepers, sand and postcrete.
A quick glance back through previous reports had had me rather guiltily noticing a common theme with the rear seats folded down and the car loaded with soil for the local tip or trips to Ikea. With apologies to Hyundai, if nothing else we’ve certainly been testing the Ioniq’s interior space to its limits – not likely to be the first thought for most buyers – and it has performed admirably. The rear seats don’t quite fold completely flat, but even with the shallow rake of the windscreen and the batteries under the floor, there’s more space in there than you think.
The other good news is that there finally seems to be some movement on rewiring our electricity meter to allow a charging point to be fitted, so fingers crossed that happens soon. Interestingly, the more people we mention this to, the more seem to have the same type of home set involving a ‘looped’ system where multiple houses are connected to one supply. If that’s the case, then wider take-up of domestic charging points will see those electricity networks with a hefty future workload to unloop the homes as they’re having to do with ours.
5 June 2020
You know you’re middle-aged when you’re ridiculously happy about your local tip, sorry Household Recycling Centre re-opening after lockdown. One of our lockdown tasks has involved landscaping our front garden and removing soil from a large flowerbed. A lot of soil.
Our long-term Hyundai Ioniq coped admirably though with the multiple trips (five on the first day alone) to remove it all – and a lot better than my temper when I discovered that soil isn’t actually classified as garden waste and has to be paid for, per bag, to drop off. The better news for my bank balance though was that all of the trips were made under electric power starting with the Ioniq’s 30 mile range of full-charge.
As CCT colleague Tristan Young pointed out with his plug-in Audi Q5 recently, PHEVs have been perfect for those limited-distance lockdown journeys. I actually can’t remember the last time I saw the trip computer report an mpg that wasn’t in three figures. Nice.
However, every silver lining has its cloud. And while it may have been a smug 11-plus weeks since we last visited a petrol station, our electricity provider has just revised our monthly direct debit upwards. While it’s difficult to judge without a smart meter, we do wonder if our electricity use is taking a battering. As ever, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – or, it turns out, a free journey to the tip.
20 May 2020
Lockdown has put many parts of everyday life on hold and unfortunately that’s included the fitting of our car charging point.
In fairness though, lockdown has only been one of the problems. Having moved out of London at the turn of the year, fitting a charging point was high on our to-do list, but sorting it out has been far from simple even with Podpoint’s help. Our new home had been previously extended and the fusebox that was in the garage is now in the kitchen in the middle of the house.
Furthermore, the dated wiring of the fusebox itself (or more precisely how the power actually comes into the fusebox) means that Podpoint’s initial suggestion was to take a whole new feed from the road pulling up the newly-laid kitchen floor in the process. Preferring my teeth to remain in my mouth, I didn’t bother mentioning this option to Mrs B.
The next plan was to arrange an engineer visit to see if we could solve the problem by some other, easier, means. Lockdown has put paid to that, meaning we’re still relying on a three-pin plug, which certainly hasn’t been a hardship but does restrict us running a full EV in the future. Fingers crossed we can find another option that involves keeping our kitchen floor intact and me not being on first-name terms with the dentist.
In the meantime, keeping the Ioniq charged up for the relatively few short journeys we have been doing, has seen our average mpg rise once again. Despite the lack of regular miles too, our usual under-tree parking spot has seen it need regular washing – albeit with a little help from a home-schooling assistant…
14 April 2020
Before the lockdown began, we managed to take our long-term Hyundai Ioniq for a quick visit to a well-known Swedish furniture store for some new wardrobe doors, ticking off a long-outstanding job on the now ever-shortening DIY chores list.
We’ve commented on the Ioniq’s shallow 341-litre boot before, but this time it was length that was crucial and it proved up to the task. Ikea has fitted charging points in the car parks of all its UK stores, but then trying to find them in a large multi-storey when you’re on a short trip is a pain. A full charge before we left meant it wasn’t essential, so after two laps of the car park, we gave up looking.
A 35-mile round-trip with a decent chunk of motorway both ways meant we didn’t quite manage the whole distance on electric, but we still saw a hefty average fuel economy figure for the journey, helping to lift our average. With shorter trips now for food drop-offs for nearby relatives, we now regularly see triple figures for our short-trip averages.
Keeping the battery topped up means we also frequently set off with a full charge. The benefit of that is that boosts our average economy figure, the downside though means there’s no regenerative braking. Not usually a problem, but as we live at the top of a hill, I often pull the left paddle as a matter of habit when setting off. Thankfully, an on-dash alert is a reminder to use the more conventional brake pedal before we have a heart-in-mouth moment at the bottom.
10 March 2020
Call it an extended dry January, but we’ve been doing our level best to stay away from the dreaded liquid since the start of the year, though have finally had to give in.
No, we don’t mean alcohol, but putting any petrol in our long term Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid. As outlined in our previous report, the lack of charging over our half-term holiday trip meant that we had to rely on the Ioniq’s petrol engine more than usual, hence the top up.
The Ioniq doesn’t boast a capless fuel filler like some cars, but we do like neat touches like the small hook to hang the cap on the flap as you fill up. Since then however, it has been business as usual and recharging at home to ensure that we’re running on plug-in power as much as possible.
In turn, that has seen our average fuel economy rise slightly to 79.3mpg, but also exposed the lack of charging points at local supermarkets, superstores and car parks – very noticeable since we recently moved out of London where they’re prolific. If all hybrids and EVs are to truly catch on, they need to far more prolific than they are at present, even if the statistics say that 80 per cent of drivers currently charge at home or at work. It’s just not good enough.
28 February 2020
As Joni Mitchell rightly pointed out, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone. We may be driving a plug-in Hyundai Ioniq rather than a Big Yellow Taxi, but that loss has certainly been our experience with charging points since our last report.
A half-term trip to the Isle of Wight saw us load up the Ioniq to the brim, resorting to the back seat for extra luggage due to the long-but-shallow 341-litre boot. Charging points on the island aren’t overly plentiful, but we decided to pack the charging leads just in case, though those that we did try to use were either taken or not working. Instead we resorted to using a three-pin of our rented holiday home.
Even so, a few other longer journeys have seen our average fuel economy spike, showing that the 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine isn’t exactly shabby even without the extra aid of plug-in power. Using the regenerative braking whenever possible seems to help though. However, we wouldn’t mind a slightly softer ride quality – the holidays saw four passengers on board for the first time and while the extra weight did help, it’s still a little firm on rougher roads.
3rd February 2020
It’s incredible how fast a new car can change your driving habits. We’re still charging our Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid via a basic three-pin plug while we wait for a charging point, but are studiously topping it up to its maximum 31-mile electric range whenever it drops to single figures.
The recent chilly weather has exposed an irony about its systems though. When it’s cold, the 1.6-litre petrol initially fires up, only switching off once warmed up. However, even on shorter journeys, it quickly cools again, causing the engine to turn itself on once more. Our 61.4mpg average fuel economy so far isn’t bad (and is better than our other household wheels, a VW Up), but we’re hoping that improves.
A busy period of work has meant an absence of longer journeys just yet, but with a half term trip to the Isle of Wight approaching that’s about to change. It also made me wonder – with charging points at ferry points now being fitted, how long will it be before we see charging points on the ferries themselves?
With the arrival of our new Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid to the Company Car Today long-term fleet, it’s no mistake that our car park now encompasses so many battery vehicles in all their forms.
Sales of new hybrid cars rose by 17.1 per cent in 2019, with sales of ‘alternatively-fuelled vehicles’ (ie anything with a battery) taking a record 7.4 per cent market share. That figure is only going to go one way too, something that Hyundai, with its increasing and substantial line-up of hybrid and electric models, is well-positioned to exploit.
We’re looking forward to exploiting the Ioniq’s 30-mile plug-in range as much as possible although we’re relying on charging via a basic three-point plug for the moment (the Ioniq comes with both cables thankfully) as we’re in the process of fitting a charging point. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the hardship we imagined though, proving that our first experience of plug-in motoring is proving easier than we thought it might.
Having said all that though, matching Hyundai’s official 256.8mpg combined average fuel economy, might be something of a challenge. We’ll give it our best shot.