Pop quiz: What do the four longest-range EVs in America have in common? None of them are crossovers. Yes, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 has managed to cruise its way into an elite club of electric cars, and that’s partly by nature of its slippery shape.
The hierarchy goes like this: The Lucid Air takes first place with a maximum EPA range of 516 miles; the Tesla Model S comes in second with a maximum EPA range of 405 miles; the Hyundai Ioniq 6 comes in third with a maximum EPA range of 361 miles; and the Tesla Model 3 comes in fourth with a maximum EPA range of 358 miles. Think about that for a second. Beating the Tesla Model S required a startup founded by the Vehicle Engineer of the Model S itself. Beating the Model 3 just required giving Hyundai a bit of time.
Anyway, the real point here is that none of these cars are crossovers, and several even have crossover equivalents that don’t make the cut. The Tesla Model X gives up 57 miles of range over its Model S equivalent. The Tesla Model Y gives up 28 miles of range over its Model 3 equivalent. The Hyundai Ioniq 5? It’s down a massive 58 miles compared to the Ioniq 6. So what boxes do you need to tick to get the longest-range Ioniq 6, and what do you give up over an Ioniq 5?
Well, that headline 361-mile range figure is only available on the base SE RWD Long Range model with the 18-inch wheels. Pop for a higher RWD trim level with 20-inch wheels and expect range to plummet to 305 miles. I don’t care if the 18-inch wheels are uglier than the 20-inch wheels, 54 miles of range is huge. In fact, wheel and tire packages are a great way to gain or lose efficiency. For instance, the BMW iX loses 19 miles of range if you jump up to 21-inch wheels from 20-inch wheels. However, the really good news is that maximum range is achieved by keeping things cheap and cheerful, which seems smart given how expensive most long-range electric cars are.
So what does the Ioniq 6 give up over its Ioniq 5 brother? Taking a look at the spec sheets, not much. Battery pack capacity is identical at 77.4 kWh, rated horsepower is identical at 225, rated torque is identical at 258 lb.-ft., and even the price should be similar like-for-like. The only real compromise on the face of it seems to be the lack of a hatch.
When it comes to increasing EV range without adding too much cost, it’s all about increasing powertrain efficiency and reducing overall Vehicle Demand Energy. Huge 100 kWh battery packs are ludicrously expensive, and with electric cars expensive as it sits, throwing more cells at the problem isn’t an accessible solution. However, adopting the sedan form is relatively cheap and seems rather effective at lowering drag coefficients over crossover counterparts. The funky Hyundai Ioniq 5 crossover features a drag coefficient of 0.29, but the U.S.-spec Ioniq 6 goes even lower with a 0.22 Cd. That’s roughly a 24.13 percent reduction in drag coefficient (obviously, overall drag also includes the frontal area factor — more on that in a sec) — important considering drag is one of EVs’ worst enemies.
What’s more, sedans tend to have less frontal area than crossovers, a critical metric that’s often forgotten by the general populace due to how drag coefficient is calculated. If two otherwise identical vehicles share the same drag coefficient but one has a larger frontal area, the one with the smaller frontal area will take less energy to push through the air.
Whether or not sedans will be the dominant vehicles of the future due to favorable frontal area and the ability to cleanly run smaller tires depends entirely on whether Americans are willing to give up the practicality of crossovers in favor of range and price. While we like to think that well over 300 miles on a charge is needed due to the vast landscape of North America, the average American driver only travels 13,476 miles per year according to the U.S. DOT. That’s roughly 37 miles a day averaged out over a full year, or 51.83 miles a day if we’re extremely generous and take weekends out of the equation entirely. The average American just doesn’t need ultra-long range, and the practicality of being able to pop a crossover’s hatch, drop the seats, and load in big items is hard to ignore.
Still, I have a small kernel of hope. Volkswagen is coming out with an electric sedan which I’ve covered before, BMW’s Neue Klasse EVs will include a 3-Series-sized car, Dodge is working on an electric muscle car, and Polestar is working on the Polestar 5 sedan. There’s still a future for the sedan, and the Hyundai Ioniq 6 helps prove it.
(Photo credits: Hyundai)
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I’m still pining for an passat wagon/audi a6 wagon in EV form. You could have the range and utility.
I personally loath crossovers and so far have managed to do with wagons and hatchbacks.
There’s going to be a wagon version of the VW ID.7 (their forthcoming electric sedan)
The wagon market in Europe remains large, probably larger than sedans at this point, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer for them.
The new BMW 5-series will come as an i5, and I’m hoping that’s available as a wagon too.
This is the same phenomenon as fuel economy playing out again, just more dramatically noteworthy due to the nature of batteries
As an example, Ford killed off the Focus in favor of the Escape – the Focus was EPA rated up to 40mpg highway, it’s crossover successor tops out at 33.
The 37mpg Fiesta was essentially replaced by the 29mpg EcoSport, the current alternative to the up to 43mpg Fusion is the 28mpg Explorer, and if you wanted a 24mpg Taurus or Crown Victoria, the closest available is the 23mpg Expedition (admittedly not as big a difference at the full-size end).
Heavier, bulkier vehicles will always get worse fuel economy or electric range than lighter, lower, more slippery vehicles within the same general size class, generally speaking
Ford is not really the best example (Ecosport mpg is one of its many points against it as a vehicle) but you also cherry-picked numbers which you didn’t really need to for your point – the Fusion is ‘up to 43 mpg’ sure, as a hybrid, and that’s the city mpg (vs hwy numbers for the others), you didn’t use the Escape hybrid which is up to 42 mpg city. Likewise, a nonhybrid Fusion 1.5T is 34 mpg max, highway.
People are typically not buying the same size vertical of vehicle, or platform-derived vehicle. Interior volume and price points, an Escape or RAV4 is aligned more with a Fusion or Camry, respectively. And Toyota sells more RAV4s now than they do Camrys. While that doesn’t take away from the overall point on physics, for the end consumer, they’re not really netting out that differently.
Our parents survived just fine carrying 2 adults, 2.5 kids and all our luggage in sedans and station wagons that had @ 250 mile range…
…bur for some reason, our kids can’t survive without a 4WD rolling barn on stilts with more interior & cargo space than Grandma’s old Country Squire that carries two adults, 1.5 children, a dog and enough junk to supply the D-Day invasion force. And if that machine happens to be an EV and has a range of under 1/4 the width of the North American continent – that’s considered a “hardship”, because apparently nobody stops for lunch & a potty break or and a visit to the worlds largest ball of twine or the Grand Canyon anymore (Hold it in, Kids/Dog!)
Funny thing is hyundae has further range but has an increased cost to insure.
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Look I can’t possibly buy this because twice a year I have to buy half a ton of mulch while towing an RV 700 miles to my parents’ place with my four kids.
I spend $75/month on fuel, $50/month on car insurance, and $0/month on car payments. Tell me again how an electric vehicle will save me money.
The solution is for car makers to take existing CUVs/SUVs, make them lower and downsize the existing oversized wheels (which essentially means they’ll be hatchbacks or wagons), but keep marketing them as ‘SUVs’.
Yeah, that is one thing that really strikes me about new cars. I think part of the reason they have huge wheels is because they are huge and very tall and slab sided. The big wheels minimize the slab sided effect (also tires are lower profile, so to get similar overall diameter you need a bigger wheel).
Anyway, getting to what I was getting to, Alec Issigonis, designer of the original mini mini, used 10″ wheels on purpose, to.maximize passenger and cargo space.
Smaller wheels not working not free up space the reduce rotating mass, which helps performance and fuel economy. Anyway, I have this wild dream that someone will build a low, aerodynamic truck (maybe with bags or hydraulically adjustable suspension for load and ride height adjustment) that was lighter, easier to load, easier to get in and out of, good looking, and had better MPG, maybe a few would sell and a whole new trend would start.
Anyway, that is a crazy dream I have.
Wish I could edit amd type, first sentence of the second paragraph, smaller tire not only increase useable space, they Reduce rotating mass and can therefore have positive effects on performance and fuel economy.
Sadly this doesn’t work – see the sales figures for Hyundai Venue, Chevy Trax, etc..
I’d really like to see aftermarket wheel manufacturers start pursuing a range of aero- or range-enhancing wheels that don’t look like crap. Or let you option the more efficient wheels on the higher-trim cars. I’d actually love to see an ioniq 6 with something like moon wheels on it. That would give me some Olds Aerotech vibes.
Actually scratch that, I want an EV Olds Aerotech reproduction. That was one of my favorite Matchbox cars, and I would daily the shit out of that. Get on it, GM!
This could have the same drag with a hatch back, and be easier to put stuff in. The only downside with a hatch is you have to make absolutely sure the hooker is dead before shutting the door. Plus chassis rigidity I guess.
“Sedan” is one of those US words that sound all exotic when you’re reading this in the UK.
I have been looking at these, but I have been a bit hesitant due to the quality on their Geneisi and Kia Stinger quality issues. Have they stepped up the quality of their interior materials?
Last couple used Genesis cars I looked at had words rubbing off of the buttons and the surfaces seemed to be aging rather quickly. At least with a Tesla you don’t have any actual buttons to wear down, lol. (I am not a Tesla Fanboy.)
nope, you just have fading screens and super slow functionality. kind like a WEST COAST CUSTOMS pimped ride these days.
I see 911 in that styling.
I see Infiniti J30!
Taycan/Panamera is what you’re looking for….but yes, clear Porsche influences
Problem with EV sedans is the rear seat comfort. With the battery under the floor, your knees are way too high. Wish more OEMs do the thing Porsche and Lucid do and carve out space for feet in the floor.
I personally don’t think all the “well the average person only drives (x) amount of miles per (insert measure of time here)” argument for why everyone should have an EV immediately is as sound of as folks think it is. It doesn’t factor in other uses of the vehicle. My wife and I only average about 50-100 miles per week commuting but her family, who we go to see 4-5 times per year, is nearly 300 miles away with a chunk of 100 or so miles in the middle being straight through the countryside with only one, non charger equipped rest stop. We also have other places we go often that are hundreds of miles away without charging infrastructure along the way.
Plus none of these vehicles come close to their actual range in practice. No one is managing to go 300 miles on a single charge, which has been clearly demonstrated in the countless tests that have been done over the last few years. On a good day in perfect conditions you could probably eek out 250ish….but that ain’t happening in a place with 4 seasons and lots of traffic. Could we make an EV work solely as a commuter car? Sure, but that’s all we could use it for, and I don’t think it’s unrealistic to want both of our cars to be able to manage that trip in a pinch in case there’s an emergency.
Anyway, I don’t think the people wanting more range are as unreasonable as they’re made out to be. Lots of folks road trip for reasons other than pleasure and in most places EVs aren’t fit for that yet. That being said…I do love the Ioniq 6 and can’t wait for the N version. I’m hardly someone who’s anti EV either. My wife wants a PHEV as her next car and I’ll consider full electric for mine if I get to the point that I know I’ll be able to make the trips I often have to make without being stressed and having to baby the car the entire time.
The second condition is absolutely a personal problem as much as an EV problem but if I can’t give the car the E beans and enjoy the immediate torque on a road trip without zapping chunks of my range it isn’t the right vehicle for me.
Yeah yeah, we know. I’m getting sick of this take at this point. You are right, but please keep it to yourself Buzz Killington.
I want to be Buzz Enhancington so I will make note of this
Thank you for typing this out and saving me from doing so.
I go to the dentist twice a year; that doesn’t mean the average of 0.005 visits per day is meaningful.
When EVs can handle what gas cars already handle for me without issue, then I’ll be ready to switch. That means 500 miles in zero degrees while hauling the family, or hassle-free 5 minute recharges. I don’t think it’s some kind of Luddite or anti-environmental stance to not want to go backwards in capability from what I already own, but many here are ready to jump down my throat at every opportunity to say my standards are laughable.
The Greenies will say you are anti-environmental because you will not sacrifice anything for the planet. I agree with you though, until they solve the quick charge issue, I am out.
This greenie says that you should buy the vehicle that you want that works best for you.
There are plenty of vehicles to choose from, so buy what you want.
For my driving habits, climate and lifestyle an EV works perfect for me.
This Greenie says that you should buy the most efficient vehicle that satisfies your needs. But if you end up buying something that is greatly in excess of your needs, don’t cry to me about fuel prices and how much fuel is costing you.
Given that I can charge at home and travel X miles per year over longer distances, I don’t need 5 minute recharges. All I want is for the total amount of time I have to spend sitting at a charger to be equal to or less than the amount of time I would be fueling.
I’m a nerd about this and I recently threw some numbers together in a spreadsheet. Right now, my Niro PHEV fueling costs about the same for my usage as an Ioniq 5 (I used it because of tested freeway range and charging speed–a Niro EV might end up slightly lower, but there are tradeoffs). I spend significantly less time fueling it, between plugging in at home and the number of times I end up having to gas up. I also ran some numbers based on a 35 mpg gasser. Against the EV, over the course of a year, I would spend more on gas and spend about the same amount of time fueling (I don’t have the spreadsheet here at work, but I think I assumed something like 400 miles between fill-ups and 7 minute gas station stops). Of course, with different usage, the numbers will be different, but there is virtually no scenario in which an EV currently makes more sense than a PHEV as your only vehicle if you are simply comparing costs and time. And I live in a hydro powered state, so my home electricity is pretty cheap.
The really interesting part to me was the realization that anything better than 35 mpg for me would mean I would spend less time total refueling a gasser than an EV, despite the majority of charging occurring at home. And I don’t drive long distances that often. I assumed somewhere around 3000 miles (may have been 4000) of distance driving out of 12000 per year. More than that and the amount of time spent charging and the cost of DC fast charging may make the EV make even less sense. And gas prices going up or down will change things. Also, I believe I went with a $3.50/gal price, which is lower than I’m currently seeing around here, but could end up a high estimate.
(And a note: I did not take any vehicle pricing into account. This is certainly unfair as EVs tend to be more expensive, but the volatility of depreciation right now made that feel like a whole other chart. I suspect that EVs are on their way to more significant depreciation, but as more people go electric, we may also see more ICE depreciation.)
As faster charging and longer range come out, I’ll be updating my spreadsheet. With the ongoing advances, I fully expect that I’ll be looking at EVs the next time I buy a car, so long as the one I’m driving doesn’t get totaled in the near-term (only closing in on 4 years old now). But I might even still be looking at PHEVs, assuming they also continue to offer efficiency/range gains. Or, of course, if the upcoming Tacoma comes in a PHEV, I might just buy that instead of waiting for a purchase to make sense.
I like this approach, the only thing I have to add is that not all time is created equal.
When I’m driving normally around town, fitting in a 5-10 min gas station stop isn’t a big imposition. It’s almost certainly on the way somewhere I was going anyways. The savings in convenience for plugging in at home, while real, are quite low.
When I’m driving on a road trip with my kids, it’s below zero outside, and holiday traffic is on the highway, an hour waiting to recharge is intolerable. The cost to me in sanity is perhaps 100x the inconvenience of a gas station stop.
Fair. I have no kids, so I actually find that stopping on my way home is less convenient for me than a stop when travelling, since I have a bad habit of not stopping to get out and stretch unless something causes me to. After work or when I’ve had to interact with people in a store, I generally just want to get home. Everyone has to make the choices that work for them. Similarly, in my willingness to buy a PHEV Tacoma if offered, I am willing to give up efficiency for the sake of utility and the reduction in insurance I could have cutting down to one vehicle. I currently have a pickup that doesn’t get much use, but enough to keep around.
I also think that I would personally benefit from being tethered to a spot for a bit. I do not eat healthy on the road, and at least a sit-down meal would slightly improve my diet. If my car’s going to need a 45 minute charge, I may as well eat something that’s not drive-thru or gas station fare.
That’s almost the opposite for me. If I’m around town, I’m probably on a schedule (and usually running behind that schedule). If I’m on a road trip, I love spending some time in the travel centers. I could gladly let my car charge while I shop for CB radios or chromed truck accessories.
That said, PHEV is still probably the next vehicle in our garage. Lots of winter driving here, and running defrosters / heat / wipers / lights while crawling home in a snow storm would give me serious anxiety without the ICE backup.
You’re not wrong. My wife has a Polestar 2. It is a fantastic car and is exactly the kind of vehicle she needs for 90% of her driving. However, we are not quite comfortable with the charging infrastructure in the bleak midwest to commit it to a roadtrip, especially when you need to pre-plan your charging. Also, the range is noticeably less in the winter. So, on the rare instances we road trip, we rent a car. Does that cost money? Yes. Does it wipe out the benefit of driving an EV the rest of the year? Not even close.
It’s the same with pickup trucks. You can buy a pickup truck and be ready for every Home Depot run but pay through the nose in gas and insurance. Or, you can probably buy something more economical (and probably more fun), accomplish 90% of your Home Depot runs and rent a pickup from HD for $60 for everything else.*
Buy the car that best suits most of your needs. Or just buy what you want.
*Before anyone jumps down my throat with “Buuuuuut I buy loose gravel and zero-turn lawn mowers from Farm & Fleet every three hours! I can’t do that in a Honda Accord!”, chill out. It’s an example based on my experience with most people who live in a city and surrounding suburbs.
+1 to this post just for the Farm & Fleet callout.
Rental pickups generally prohibit towing. So that’s a big reason people put up with the hassle and expense.
Uhaul definitely lets you tow with their pickups- however I think you can only get them for “local” rentals and I don’t think they offer many extended or crew-cabs if you needed more people in the vehicle.
Well written. All of these comments are the reason I want an EV for a daily driver third car so my road trip vehicles are saved for the weekends, towing/hauling, and road trips. No vehicle is perfect for everything and I would rather have an EV for the daily commute and running to the store or out to eat and leave the big heavy spacious vehicles for the other stuff. Just like I have a small utility trailer instead of owning a pickup truck.
I’m not exactly pro pickup. But most people I know who drive one, it’s because they have some large toy like a boat or UTV and for the distances and types of trips they drive to take those things out there isn’t really a rental option that will let you tow and take the family. Maybe there are options I’m not aware of. And then once they’ve spent $60-80k on a truck they just drive it around everywhere, cost be damned. It’s true that for most of those people the cheap leased EVs that were available until last year would have pay for itself immediately as a primary commuter instead of the truck. Hell, I did the math and a $100 Ioniq EV lease would have paid for itself even compared to our 30mpg hatchback. Those deals are gone but the math still works out pretty well even at higher price-points. But apparently some people just really love the ride quality of a body on frame truck!
This is not a pro-EV comment necessarily.
But I’m curious if your vehicle has a true 500 mile range?
I have one that can make it 430 on a road trip, one that makes 360, and one that can do about 190 (but the J10 has too small of a gas tank).
Granted the van tank is too small as well. I always liked that the old Accord Hybrids didn’t downsize the tank and got 600-700 miles on a tank.
My truck has ~600 mile range when not towing.
My wife’s van, which is the usual road trip vehicle, has more like 350-400 miles.
But of course, both have quick refueling times.
I don’t need both the range and the recharge time, just one or the other.
Thanks. I was curious because it feels like overall ICE vehicle range has been decreasing too.
Trucks tend to be good because people know you’re gonna tow with them and that range is going to drop dramatically. I appreciate this response.
Yeah I average maybe 10-30 miles a day on weekdays and easily 300 frequently on weekends. Plus the infrastructure thing is still very much valid. It’s going to take a long time for an EV to be able to go anywhere even the lowest range gas cars can go.
I’m a proponent of having an EV as a second car commuter, or a solo car if it really does fit into your lifestyle. But I think the reason why a lot of people resist is the idea of purchasing something for 40k or more, and it not being good at, you know, being a car.
I think people reallllly underestimate the amount of time and distance a number of Americans drive independently of their work commute. People have family to visit, vacations to go on, hobbies and obligations to enjoy or deal with. Ideally we’d have other economical options to work with other than driving, but we don’t. So when the average person goes to buy a do-it-all car, many aren’t going to be so keen on the idea of spending an incredible amount of money on something that sucks at doing what their current car does without any consideration or planning.
And I like EVs! I want one, but I think for me, living in somewhat rural Upstate NY (think Adirondacks) a PHEV makes a lot more sense until we take the next tech step or two.
Yeah, I have nothing against EVs, but it is hard for me to make the case for something that costs more with gives you less with slightly more limited use.
I wouldn’t mind having one as a commuter, we are a good use case for one, I have plenty of garage space, 220 already wired to the garage, and a relatively short commute, oh, and also 4 current cars, so replacing one with an electric really wouldn’t limit is much.
We have the dreaded one-car garage with the even more dreaded one-car-wide driveway. The commuter (me) leaves first and comes home last. I know charging outside is possible, but I would have to have a pretty wide range of space to place my car to charge, depending on the scenario.
Even if you have a single family home, it’s not always easy to work out the logistics for this. Part of the incentive for EVs should probably focus on first time EV purchasers. Credits for installing legitimate home charging, etc.
Lets be honest here due to politics the estimated range of evs or the mpg of ice cars are all inflated due to government giving prizes for ass kissing
So your previous account got banned? Let’s see how long this one lasts.
Now we just need more slippery EV sedans that start at about $25K or less. I know it is wishful thinking.
With the exception of active vent flaps, there’s no reason that an aerodynamic sedan should cost more than a non-aero sedan. And with good aero you can get adequate range from a smaller battery, which will help with costs. But until the demand doesn’t outstrip supply, the manufacturers have little incentive to build cheaper models.
It gives me VW CC vibes. I don’t hate it, and I would probably drive it as a daily, but I don’t see it taking off in the same category as a current 3-Series, but I prefer this look more than the upcoming VW sedan. But the VW design seems to be more dailyable for a family based on dimensions.
Finally, a car that has caught up to the 1935 Tatra T77A with regard to drag coefficient. That is where most of its efficiency gains over the competition result from. Consider that this heavy sedan is more efficient than other electric cars with half its mass. Cars can still get much more slippery, but this is a good start.
Imagine the musclecars we could have had in the early 1970s if they had this sort of drag. 35 mpg highway with big block carbureted V8s would have been possible, and the fuel crisis would have been greatly less of a concern as a result. The Malaise era could have been in part avoided(the emissions regulations were another component of that problem).
part of the charm of the 80s and 90s trans ams was the good for the time .32-.33 drag coefficient of those cars.
Some models got as low as 0.29 Cd.
“Imagine the musclecars we could have had in the early 1970s if they had this sort of drag. 35 mpg highway with big block carbureted V8s would have been possible,”
I seriously doubt that even with the best aero, an old carb’d big block V8 would get 35mpg on the highway unless a bunch changes were made to the V8 itself… starting with swapping the regular carb for one tuned to run lean all the time (which would kill power) or a leanly tuned fuel injection (which would still kill power, but not as much).
There is far more than aero that enables vehicles like the Hellcat to get over 20mpg on the highway.
Now having said that, modern muscle cars such as Corvettes, Mustangs, Challengers and Chargers might approach that with better aero. But that would likely involve styling compromises. And those cars are as much about style as performance.
I don’t have the nostalgia for these old carb’d musclecars. I remember when these when I was young and they were relatively new.
The modern Hellcat Charger or even the regular V8 Charger outdoes all of the old 1960s and 1970s muscle cars… plus it is way more pleasant to drive, uses far less fuel, pollutes far less, handles way better, has way better brakes, is far safer in every way and is far more reliable/durable.
That’s the same drag coefficient as a 2017 BMW 520d EfficientDynamics, which is way less fishy looking.
Pls just give us the N Vision 74