If you are a pair of hip young men living in Toronto today, you don’t work boring nine to five jobs. You create a YouTube channel that focuses on cars. That’s what you do. Then you get thousands of other people to watch your videos and propel you to stardom. Jakob and Yuri have done many videos for their Straight Pipes channel. Their most recent involves a road trip from Toronto to Ottawa and back driving two versions of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 door hatchback — one a hybrid and the other a battery electric car.
The plan is to drive each Hyundai Ioniq up and back in one day, a distance of just under 600 miles. Key to the adventure is that the guys decided to do this on a whim just half an hour before leaving. That lack of planning will prove to be critical to the result. Both cars impressed with their comfort, smoothness, and technological gee wizardry. The hybrid has a 6 speed transmission that can be shifted manually for extra entertainment points while driving. The electric was super smooth and quiet.
Ordinarily, driving round trip between the two cities would require about 10 hours on the road. For Jakob and Yuri, it took more than double that — 21.5 hours to be exact. Why? Because the Ioniq electric only has about 124 miles of range (a version with a larger battery and more range is expected early next year). While the hybrid could cruise along for hours without stopping for gas — it is rated 58 mpg combined by the EPA — the battery operated car needed to stop every few hours. Charging time on a Level 2 charger took about 3.5 hours.
While the Hyundai Ioniq Electric can theoretically be recharged in under an hour using Level 3 fast charging equipment, those devices are few and far between on the road between Toronto and Ottowa. That meant the pair spent more time parked at charging stations than they did driving. While some of that waiting time led to interesting side stories — one BMW dealer lent them an M3 sedan to test drive while they were waiting — the take away is that electric cars are not ready for prime time when asked to wander far from home. (Except for Teslas, of course.)
What the adventure revealed was that it takes a lot of planning to go road tripping in a battery electric car. Charger availability will determine which routes are selected. Different chargers are part of different networks and require different membership agreements and payment options. It’s a bit exciting to know you are an electric car pioneer, but in the long run, the electric car was much better suited to use in a confined area where overnight charging is the norm.
This story is not a knock on the Hyundai Electric. By all reports, it is a very well engineered vehicle that drives almost as well as a Tesla, according to another videographer and Tesla fan, Bjorn Nyland. It’s just that is falls victim to the lack of charging infrastructure that plagues the electric car marketplace throughout the world. Of all the brilliant things Elon Musk has done, creating the Supercharger network to alleviate range anxiety may be one of the most important.
For another opinion about the Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Electric, be sure to check out Derek Markham’s side by side comparison piece from February. He found that as long as he was not sitting at a charging station for hours and hours, the Ioniq Electric is one heckuva car.