Hyundai IONIQ Electric

Hybrids achieve their eye-opening fuel economy through their advanced drivetrains and their ability to match an electric motor with a conventional gasoline engine. The Ioniq starts with a fuel efficient 1.6L 4-cylinder engine mated to a 43 horsepower electric motor. Combined, they make 139 horsepower which is then sent to the front wheels. While most other hybrids use a continuously variable transmission for maximum efficiency, Hyundai deemed the odd "rubber band" feeling produced by acceleration with a CVT unacceptable from a driving dynamics standpoint. Besides, they reasoned they could hit their mileage target without using one anyway. Instead, a sports-car style dual-clutch automated manual was utilized in the Ioniq, producing quick, precise gear changes, and reduces much of the sluggishness and numbness common in many hybrid vehicles.

Hyundai also utilizes the same gearbox in their plug-in Ioniq, which again uses a 1.6L gasoline engine, but supplements it with a more powerful electric motor. Range on the plug-in hybrid will be around 27 miles, after which the gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the batteries automatically and the car begins to function more or less like the standard hybrid.

Lastly, select markets get a fully electric version of the Ioniq. It uses a 118 horsepower electric motor exclusively. Maximum range on the Ioniq electric is 124 miles, which should be fine for most commutes.

The standard Ioniq Hybrid is available in three different trim levels: Blue, SEL and Limited. Standard features across the Ioniq Hybrid lineup include a 7-inch color display touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and bluetooth built in, a rearview camera, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control, automatic projector beam headlights, a 4.2-inch LCD instrument display, dual-zone automatic temperature control, SiriusXM satellite radio and HD radio.

The midlevel SEL adds several safety and convenience features. SEL versions get a Blind Spot Detection system, along with a rear cross-traffic alert system, heated front seats, a power driver's seat, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, heated side mirrors with turn signals built in, a leather wrapped steering wheel, a nicer rear armrest with built in cup holders and some additional chrome work around the windows and interior door handles.

The top of the line Limited gets nicer 17-inch alloy wheels, a tilt and slide sunroof, leather seating surfaces, HID headlights, an electronic auto-dimming rearview mirror with a built in garage door opener, LED lights on the interior and automatic windows.

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Editors' First Take

During its CES 2017 presentation, Hyundai casually showcased an Ioniq electric scooter to complement its Ioniq Hybrid and Electric cars… and never mentioned it again. Until last Friday when the automaker filed a patent application (PDF) for a very familiar-looking scooter.

The battery-powered Ioniq scooter that we saw two years ago was operated with either a foot pad or a thumb switch and folded down compactly when not in use for easy carrying via a shoulder strap or handle. The collapsed scooter could even be slotted into the Ioniq's door pocket where it would be automatically recharged with energy from the car's battery pack. The idea is that the e-scooter would serve as last-mile transportation for Ioniq drivers to and from their car and for use around urban areas that cars can't access.

The patent application shows an identical folding mechanism and door storage capacity, but doesn't specifically mention whether it can be charged by a host car. This of course raises the question of why it took Hyundai so long to file this patent.

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