The EPA last week announced that the new Hyundai Ioniq battery electric car has been given an MPGe rating of 136. That is higher than the rating awarded to the BMW i3 (124 MPGe), the Chevrolet Volt (119MPGe) and Spark EV (119MPGe), the Volkswagen e-Golf (116MPGe), and Tesla Model S 60D (104MPGe). What is MPGe? For those who were absent in class that day, here’s a refresher from Wikipedia:
“Miles per gallon gasoline equivalent is a measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed. MPGe is used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to compare energy consumption of alternative fuel vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles, and other advanced technology vehicles with the fuel economy of conventional internal combustion vehicles expressed as miles per US gallon.
“The MPGe metric was introduced in November 2010 by EPA in the Monroney sticker of the Nissan Leaf electric car and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. The ratings are based on EPA’s formula, in which 33.7 kilowatt-hours (121 megajoules) of electricity is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline, and the energy consumption of each vehicle during EPA’s five standard drive cycle tests simulating varying driving conditions. All new cars and light-duty trucks sold in the U.S. are required to have this label showing the EPA’s estimate of fuel economy of the vehicle.”
Got that? The EPA assumes (and we all know about the word “assume,” don’t we?) that 33.7 kWh of electricity is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline. By that measure, if the Ioniq were a traditional car with an internal combustion engine, it could go 136 miles on one gallon of gas.
Here’s more from Korean website Dong-A. “Unlike ‘miles on a single charge’ that extends as the number of batteries with large capacity increases, the MPGe is an economic indicator that considers the cost of charge. The EPA estimated the yearly fuel cost of the Ioniq Electric at 500 dollars, the lowest among other competing vehicles.”
Putting all the technical jargon aside, what it comes down to is that the Ioniq electric car, which is coming to the US in the middle of 2017, is a very efficient machine. Unfortunately, it has a rather limited range of 124 miles. Popular perception is that an EV should have at least 200 miles of range before mainstream shoppers will even consider it.
That is a misconception, of course. Owners of gasoline powered cars don’t start every day with a full tank but owners of electric cars start every day with a fully charged battery — assuming they remember to plug in at night. The saving grace for the Hyundai offering is that it may cost significantly less than than cars with 200 miles or more of range.
Batteries are costly, so a smaller battery should result in a smaller price. Lots of people still vote with their wallets, so the Hyundai may be able to carve out a nice chunk of the EV market if it costs thousands less than competitors like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Bolt. Hyundai has not yet released pricing information for the car.