Hyundai gives its fully electric Ioniq Electric a jolt of energy with an update for the 2020 model year. Between the slightly more capacious battery, faster charging speed and a slight bump in horsepower, the compact electric hatchback makes improvements across the board to remain competitive with Nissan's Leaf in the affordable electric car space.
Let's start with the battery pack, which steps up to 38.3 kWh of energy capacity from 28 kWh -- an increase of about 36 percent. The bigger battery bestows the Ioniq Electric more range. The BEV can now cruise up to 170 miles per charge, up from 124.
A new 7.2-kW onboard charger crams electrons into the battery faster than the current model's 6.6-kW unit, so the bigger battery won't take too much longer to charge up. Of course, the 100-kW DC fast-charging capability means drivers can sprint up to an 80-percent charge in under an hour at a compatible station.
With a bigger energy reserve, Hyundai saw fit to bump the electric motor's output to 134 ponies -- 16 more than before -- while the 218 pound-feet of torque remains unchanged. The only number I've noticed go down for 2020 is the combined fuel efficiency, which drops slightly to 133 miles-per-gallon equivalent, still quite efficient.
Externally, the Ioniq Electric (as well as the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models) features a revised look with new jewel-like LED headlamps, DRLs, fog lights and tails. The front end also features a redesigned closed grille (mesh for the hybrids), with new wheel designs and a host other mid-cycle design tweaks to help you tell it apart from the 2019 model.
Inside, the base Display Audio infotainment grows to a standard 8-inch unit with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) with big ol' widescreen 10.25-inch navigation upgrade joining the options list. The larger screen integrates smoothly into a new glossy black center stack with capacitive touch controls, blue ambient lighting and a revised digital instrument cluster design to complement the new screens.
The SmartSense driver aid suite also sees updates with the addition of cyclist detection and driver attention warning to the list of standard equipment. Lane-keeping and high-beam assist make the move from options to standard. Meanwhile, the still optional Smart Cruise Control gains Stop & Go functionality, making it useful in traffic.
Aside from their similar design revisions, the Hybrid and PHEV models are, mechanically, basically unchanged with the same 1.6-liter GDI hybrid powertrain as the 2019 models. The 2020 Plug-in gets a slight power bump to 156 horsepower (27 more than last year), thanks to a slightly more powerful electric motor. On the software side, both hybrids gain new Eco-Driving Assist System (ECO-DAS), Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Management software that combine to help drivers maximize fuel economy.
Pricing hasn't been announced for the new 2020 Ioniq Electric, but we don't expect too dramatic an increase over the 2019 model's $30,315 to $36,815 range. Meanwhile Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrids see small price hikes starting at $23,000 and $26,300, respectively.