The most energy-efficient car in America isn’t a Tesla, Toyota, or even the remarkable Chevrolet Bolt. It’s a Hyundai. With a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles), the all-electric Ioniq comes nowhere near the Bolt’s astounding 383 km (238 miles). But the Hyundai’s gasoline equivalent of 1.73 liters per 100 kilometers (136 mpge) tops all current EVs.
Let’s do some quick math. Americans will pay about US $3.36 to charge the Ioniq’s 28 kilowatt-hour battery pack, at the average electricity rate of 12 cents per kilowatt hour. So, for less than the price of 1.5 gallons of unleaded, an Ioniq can cover 124 miles, the distance from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
Not ready to make the leap to a pure EV? The Ioniq offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, with the standard hybrid delivering up to 4.1 L/100 km (58 mpg). Less gawky-looking than a Prius, these Ioniqs match the slippery 0.24 drag coefficient of the Tesla Model S, making them the most aerodynamic models on U.S. roads. With automakers and environmentalists now focused on automobiles’ full carbon footprint, from manufacturing to disposal, the Ioniq’s recycled interior plastics are combined with volcanic stone and powdered wood, reducing weight by 20 percent and allowing easy recycling.
Hyundai is experimenting in California with a way to lure buyers from conventional cars: a cellphone-style subscription plan. It bundles unlimited mileage, charging costs, scheduled maintenance, and replacement of worn-out items into a single monthly payment. Don’t be surprised to see other EV makers follow suit.