The race toward electrification

From the December 2023 print edition

If you’re not already considering a transition to electric as a fleet manager, you’ll surely need to soon.

The EV revolution is firmly underway, and a flurry of new vehicles is arriving that can meet a variety of needs and range demands.

When sedans will fit the bill and you’re far enough down the road to have a vehicle charging plan, Hyundai’s IONIQ 6 is well worth a look.

This is the second electric vehicle released by Hyundai since the standalone IONIQ nameplate launched. Unlike the boxy IONIQ 5 crossover that came before it, the IONIQ 6 is all sleek curves and elongated lines. Whether these features will appeal on the IONIQ 6 is entirely in the eye of the beholder. (Automotive writers like to call this type of styling “polarizing”).

With the standard 18-inch wheels, the vehicle’s range is estimated at 581km, and it uses 14.9kWh to go 100km.

Here, though, it serves an important function. The IONIQ 6 has a ridiculously low drag coefficient of 0.22, which is one factor that contributes to it being the most efficient EV currently available in Canada. That efficiency means the IONIQ 6 can be the most affordable EV to keep charged, depending on the model you choose.

Configurations
Two different configurations are offered. The most efficient is the base model, the Preferred Long Range, which comes with a 77.4kWh battery and rear-wheel drive. (A standard-range version with a 53kWh battery was initially offered in Canada but has since been dropped). This version has a single motor mounted at the rear axle producing 225hp and 258lbs-ft of torque. With the standard 18-inch wheels, its range is estimated at 581km, and it uses 14.9kWh to go 100km.

Opting to upgrade to the Preferred Long Range AWD adds a second motor to the front axle and increases available power to 320hp and 446lbs-ft of torque. When equipped with 18-inch wheels, the estimated range is 509km, and driving for 100km takes 17.4kWh.

This is the version we tested, and while we expect most Canadians will choose it for the all-wheel drive factor, the truth is the AWD configuration offers more power than most drivers truly need for daily driving. If your fleet’s driving conditions make rear-wheel drive feasible, that model is worth serious consideration.
For 2023, an Ultimate package is available with the Preferred Long Range AWD. For 2024, it’s offered on both models. It adds a long list of desirable-looking features such as a panoramic sunroof, a Bose premium audio system, leatherette seats, a driver’s seat memory function, and more. However, it also adds 20-inch wheels, which look nice but affect the efficiency of the IONIQ 6 dramatically. On the RWD version, range drops to 491km, while on the AWD version range drops to 435km and power use goes up to 20.5kWh/
100km. As a result, this add-on removes more benefit than it adds for fleet usage.

Electric drive system
Hyundai’s electric drive system is one of the best on today’s market. Five levels of regenerative braking are built in and can be easily adjusted with a pair of paddles on the back of the steering wheel. These range from a zero-resistance coast to full one-pedal driving. This level of customization becomes especially helpful in situations where an IONIQ 6 will have more than one driver.

The IONIQ 5 has features such as a Bose premium audio system, leatherette seats, a driver’s seat memory function, and more.

For those with access to Level 3 DC fast charging at 350kW, the IONIQ 6 can recover a charge from 10 to 80 per cent in 18 minutes. At the more common speed of 50kW, it takes 73 minutes to charge the same amount. Considering, though, that every version of the IONIQ 6 has more than 400km of range, most fleets can count on using the 10.9kW onboard charging for their daily needs. This can accept a Level 2 charge and take the IONIQ 6 from 10 to 100 per cent in seven hours and 10 minutes.

In 2023, pricing starts at $57,652 including fees for the RWD version and $60,652 for AWD. As tested with the Ultimate package equipped, which costs $6,000 on this model year, the fees-in price comes to $66,902. Both versions qualify for the full $5,000 value of the federal iZEV rebate program as well as provincial programs where they exist, meaning you can expect to pay $5,000 to $12,000 less depending on where you live in Canada. Businesses can also access a tax incentive on eligible zero-emission vehicles, though this is not available in combination with consumer-level rebates.

That makes the IONIQ 6 more affordable than it appears at first glance. Add in the reputation Hyundai is building for reliability, and the brand is clearly at the forefront of the race toward electrification.