It has been almost a year since we reviewed the very capable Hyundai IONIQ Electric. As a refresher, this is the most efficient EV on the US market at 136 MPGe and the only model more efficient than the Tesla Model 3.
The problem, or recurring theme in a broader sense, is that it is almost impossible to get your hands on the all-electric version if you live outside of California even though the hybrid version is all over the country. This is because it is a compliance vehicle.
What could have been good news this week is that Hyundai finally announced the Plug-in Hybrid version price (along with EV only range moving from 27 to 29 miles). But not all Plug-ins are created equal…
Run your house off your car and an inverter
Hyundai is pricing the 29-mile Plug-in Hybrid very aggressively at $24,950. The US govt will give you $4,500 back as a tax rebate (yes, even in 2018). If you live in a state that has EV incentives, you get even more back on your state taxes.
For instance, in New York, it’s $1100 more back for a total cost of under $19,000 (before gas savings). If you are like me and have a very short commute, you could theoretically never dip into the gas tank and could effectively have the cheapest plug-in car on the market today.
But unfortunately, just like Toyota’s Prius Plug-ins, you can’t sequester your driving to EV only. The car’s computers decide when to use gasoline, which in my experience has been a mess.
If you want to do plug-ins right, look at the Chevy Volt or BMW i3 REX where you can exclusively use the battery until it almost completely runs out, then go to dinosaur juice as a fallback.
So, the Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid is built incorrectly and we’re still going to recommend the full EV model. But that $24,950 price is still quite interesting.
What are you getting for $20,000 after incentives? The Plug in Hybrid has:
- 1.6L GDI Atkinsons Cycle 4-cylinder engine
- 45kW (60HP) electric motor
- 8.9kWh lithium-ion polymer battery system
- 6-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Transmission
The head-scratcher for me here is how Hyundai got a price this low in a car with 2 powertrains. Hyundai already has a 9kWh battery in the Plug-in and the full EV only has a 28kWh battery pack, which gets its 125 miles with its super-efficient design.
So how does having a whole EXTRA ICE powertrain cost $5000 LESS than just 19kWh more worth of battery modules in the full EV? Assume $150/kWh = < $3000 for battery difference.
Even assuming the whole ICE powertrain is free, the EV version should only cost $3000 more, not the $5,000 currently listed. Yes, the full EV has a slightly more powerful motor and niceties like 100kW CCS DC charging, but these are all small costs compared to the whole gas tank to tailpipe ICE engine.
Realistically, the EV should be the same price, if not cheaper than the Plug-in. If Hyundai priced the EV version fairly, it would cost the consumer $25,000 – $7500 full Federal tax credit = $17,500 – $2500 New York Full Tax Credit = $15,000 – a commuter EV anyone could afford.
Why is Hyundai limiting the full EV to only a few sales in California? We’d love to know.