THIS is a story of two halves, of one car, one nation not quite set up for its technology and it is leaving me anxious.
On the one hand Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a cutting edge, fully electric SUV, full of technology, full of brilliant design features, full of promise.
But as I sit in the supermarket car park waiting for a free charger I realise that this country needs to catch up and catch up fast.
When the first fast chargers were installed a couple of years back they stood completely empty for much of the time; there simply weren’t the EVs on the road to use them.
But, oh, how that has changed and even on the journey to the charger, and certainly in the supermarket car park, I see many a BEV making them a common sight nowadays.
My plight is not helped by the fact that one of the three chargers is broken leaving only two for the rest of us to fight over – literally, as a lady stands guard in an empty bay and with a sullen-to-aggressive expression on her face warns us off trying to reverse in as her husband and their car is en route.
Life is too short to take her on so I park in the faulty bay and await my turn – and keep an eye out for the parking police as a big sign informs me I must also pay to park as well as charge. Well I’m not gonna, at least not until I’m charging.
Plugged in, contactless card swiped and there’s time to find a café to fill in the time. Hyundai Ioniq 5 takes the charge on quickly, in fact it reaches 80 per cent full in under an hour. Only problem is that it then stops and the charger cuts off, it steadfastly refusing to accept 100 per cent to offer maximum range.
So what have I got range-wise? With the heating on just 165, with the heating off it rises to 180, which is a bit on the cusp for my needs to be honest.
But that’s enough negativity from me as I do really like the Hyundai Ioniq 5. It is completely space-age to look at, like nothing else on the road. It is minimalist and in satin livery and with groovy wheels looks like it is from a different century.
That modernism stretches inside with long, wide virtual dash and touchscreen, contemporary steering wheel and seats and central storage unit that move backwards and forwards making the cabin one of the most flexible on the market.
You can split the touchscreen and have the satnav on one side and a very useful EV readout on the other, which includes where and how far away the nearest charging point is. All in all it is a very pleasant cabin with great ambient lighting and an excellent hi-fi.
Size is impressive too and my son’s mountain bike fits in the back without having to take out its front wheel leaving the narrower of the asymmetrically split rear seats still in place for him to sit on. Now that is remarkable. Strangely there is no rear wiper so the back screen becomes van-like and difficult to see through.
To start the Hyundai Ioniq 5, just put your foot on the brake and press a button. The gear selector is on a stalk to the right of the steering wheel and you turn it one way for drive, the other for reverse. Park is a button on the end.
The electric motor is virtually silent and very responsive. There’s the choice of three modes – eco, normal and sport – and all offer tremendous, instant and powerful performance. It is fabulous. The distance to empty readout is accurate too which is reassuring and the EV screen tells you how many miles you have left with the heating on and off, which is useful.
It doesn’t feel like a big vehicle but it certainly accommodates your every need whether you are carrying people, bikes, baggage, or all three. Ride is very comfortable and the Ioniq 5 grips and handles well. Drive is to the rear wheels but you would never know.
The Hyundai is an endearing car to live with and a pleasure to drive. If you were to buy one and also have a home charger fitted you wouldn’t give owning one a second thought. But if you have to rely on public rapid chargers like I do then it does become and anxious time. When will this country catch up?