A 2,000+km road trip in my new Ioniq 5 – Hyundai’s brilliant and global award-winning EV – was straightforward without any dramas.
The Ioniq 5 is a comfortable 5 seat Hatch/SUV family car with performance that can equal or better many expensive sports cars. Its high-speed charging capabilities and the Chargefox network can give total charging and recreation times of between 45 to 60 minutes each way between Melbourne and Adelaide.
(Note: The term “ruined” is by now synonymous with proving EVs are capable of doing long-distance road trips, as laid out in The Driven’s article published in late 2021.)
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a mid-size Crossover with a spacious interior due to its large 3000mm wheelbase. Styling is a combination of retro and futuristic looks and has drawn attention wherever it has been so far.
Performance (with the dual-motor AWD option) has V8-like acceleration with EV refinement giving a silky-smooth driving experience. Refinements such as acoustic laminated windscreen and side windows, together with the absence of any engine noise, yield low noise levels that are competitive with the best European vehicles. This adds up to a relaxed cruiser experience while having reserves of instantaneous EV performance.
The Ioniq 5 uses a unique 400/800v charging system and with a 350kW charger can charge from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes. The photo below shows my charging reaching a peak rate of 223kW delivering quick turnarounds and making long distance travel practical.
Thanks to this, I now find coffee and toilet stops are becoming the critical limitation just as much as recharge times. Note that I was typically charging to 80% however it seemed more logical to have the charge continue (rather than shutting down) in case I was delayed getting back to the car. Refer the unwritten ABC rule of EV travel (Always Be Charging).
While in Adelaide we had day trips and in this photo at Victor Harbor we checked out the new causeway to Granite Island. Being with family gave others the chance to drive the car, and myself trying out the back seat: my 183cm frame had adequate leg and headroom. I found air conditioning in the rear was OK but not as adjustable as in the front.
This trip was 180km in total, travelling from Adelaide to Victor Harbor, Goolwa, Strathalbyn and back to Adelaide. With 4 adults on board, we left with 90% charge, used the Nextcharge destination charger at Victor Harbor while exploring and returned to our Adelaide base with 53%.
Fully loaded, the handling of the car through the hilly undulating roads at 100kmh was marginally softer. In future, I will have to remember to moderate the throttle through windy roads when carrying passengers. However, the back seat passengers did make it home without feeling carsick.
The Tonsley Solar Garage which has just recently been made fully operational was located close by to my base and provided recharging while in Adelaide. In my opinion, it is a great model for a charging station featuring a solar roof, two high-speed 50kW DC charger bays and four x 7kW destination bays. At the time of writing, charging was free.
The published range for the AWD version Ioniq 5 sold in Australia is stated as 430km. This figure is indicative of a mix of general driving, for example in an urban environment you could expect to achieve a greater range and conversely at highway cruising speeds with the HVAC systems on you can expect a range reduced to 340 to 350km. If the battery is operated within 20 to 80% limits, then a practical highway recharge distance becomes 0.6 x 340 – approximately 200km.
As a precaution I carry an array of plugs and adaptors for single or 3 phase connections. As a last resort I have a sleeping bag and folding mattress in case of a slow overnight charge. The rear seat backs fold to give 183cm (6 feet) of camping length. These contingencies will probably be scaled down in the future when more charging stations are on line.
The Adelaide to Melbourne return leg of the trip was 783km with a drive time of 8 hours 19min at the posted speed limits. Trip planning was calculated using the ABRP app and was adjusted to leave with 100% charge and arrive at the stops with 20% charge and an allowance of 5 minutes charger overhead for stopping and connecting. At these settings the Keith stop was 17 minutes, the Horsham stop took 18 minutes and Ballarat was slightly shorter at 13 minutes giving a total stop time of 48 minutes.
The return trip was, surprisingly, progressing almost exactly to plan; actually arriving at the Ballarat Chargefox station 2 minutes ahead of schedule at 1:43pm, at which time I noticed a service van next to the chargers. The 350kW chargers were not operational so one of the 50kW fast chargers was used instead. Instead of 13 minutes, the time taken was 41 minutes.
And then just when my charge finished a storm hit Ballarat, with the roads awash. Visibility out of the rear window was near zero without any wiper. Approaching Melbourne, the Westgate freeway was gridlocked and once through that the Monash was also stopped or at a crawl, being responsible for 23 minutes of traffic delay. So overall the traffic and lower output charger added 51 minutes to the trip. Chargefox costs are $0.40/kWh with a 20% RACV discount bringing the price to $0.32/kWh. Total charging costs for my trip of some 2,100km was $84.25
It should be noted this trip also cost 2.5c/km payable to the Victorian government even though over 1,100kms of this trip was not on Victorian roads.
Covid also impacted travel interstate, needing to be tested in the 72 hours prior to entering South Australia and then upon arrival.
The upside of this additional time in the car was that I actually read the manual, with the most useful finding being to locate the Climate and Warmer HVAC shortcut buttons to save drilling down through the infotainment menus.
Another outcome of being queued for Covid testing was getting plenty of practice with the column-mounted rotary transmission selector stalk. Initially the location was not intuitive, however after much stopping and starting I started to develop some muscle memory. Time will tell if I actually grow to like it; the remote parking capabilities of the car are still on the to do list.
My biggest disappointment was that Hyundai did not offer the 77kWh battery that is available in the US and on the Kia and Genesis models that share the same e-GMP platform.
Despite my big battery paranoia, it should be noted that the Hyundai high-speed charging (for this trip) is more significant than the larger battery. Range anxiety is also not an issue for urban travel where the car is used for some 300+ days of the year.
In summary, the Ioniq 5 is a brilliant car, winning many awards and raising the bar for EVs. A trip like this does require some planning, however the fast-charging Ioniq 5 and the highway charge networks make such drives practical with trip times not significantly greater than conventional vehicles. The refinement and performance of the car made this trip very comfortable.
P.S. Did you know the steering wheel does not have a Hyundai logo and instead has four pixel dots. Guess what four dots means in Morse code.