The automobile has long doubled as a shelter, whether for reasons of romance or economic necessity. The COVID-19 pandemic adds the new dimension of virus-free work space. The car has also become a lifesaving refuge in Texas, where the power grid is failing in a historic cold snap. Now would seem like the perfect time to up the ante on the car as a living space, and that is what Hyundai is up to with its new crossover utility vehicle, the Ioniq 5 electric vehicle.
Ioniq 5: An Electric Vehicle You Could Live In
Electric vehicle makers have a huge advantage over gasmobiles when it comes to interior design. Between the battery pack and the electric power train, the engineering options are far more flexible, and it looks like Hyundai has taken plenty of advantage.
The Ioniq 5 CUV will take the global stage on February 23. Meanwhile Hyundai offered a sneak peek at a long list of special interior touches, giving credit up top to the car’s electric vehicle engineering.
The dedicated “electric platform allows long wheelbase and flat floors compared to midsize CUVs with conventional powertrains, enabling a breakthrough interior design,” Hyundai explains, adding that the “Living Space” theme inspired designers to offer ‘a distinctively different interior experience not possible before.'”
The Hyundai website offers more detail on that:
IONIQ 5 is the first model built on Hyundai’s new E-GMP platform. The result of years of development, this platform is key to many of the car’s advanced characteristics, such as its increased range and ultra-fast charging. You’ll also be able to choose between rear wheel drive or four wheel drive configurations.
The E-GMP platform is designed especially for electric cars, which means that space can be used more innovatively – both under the bonnet and in the cabin.
You’ll also benefit from more room in the boot and more passenger legroom, not to mention the exceptionally high levels of safety structural integrity.
What’s So Special About This Electric Vehicle?
Do tell! Come to think of it, back in the olden days before COVID, when CleanTechnica visited auto shows live and in person, automakers were practically giddy over the new and amazing things possible with electric vehicle interiors.
Partying seemed to be the order of the day, with disco balls, revolving seats, and even goldfish bowls factoring into the mix. Sustainability, not so much. For the most part, electric vehicle makers have been leaning on the EV battery to toot their sustainability horn. Interior materials and other car parts have taken a back seat, so to speak.
Somewhat ironically, gasmobile makers have been paying more attention to sustainable sourcing for car parts in recent years. With the Ioniq 5 CUV, Hyundai steps it up a notch or two for the electric vehicle set.
For those who equate sustainability with plant-based products, the leather seats on the special edition may raise eyebrows. However, Hyundai states that flaxseed oils have been used in dying and treating, along with other more sustainable steps in leather processing.
Elsewhere, the plant-based factor is more clearly in evidence.
“Other soft furnishings throughout the cabin consist of textiles derived from sustainable fibres such as sugar cane bio components, wool and poly yarns, as well as material woven from fibres made from recycled PET plastic bottles,” Hyundai explains. “Surfaces such as the dashboard, switches, steering wheel and door panels are coated in a polyurethane bio paint composed of oils from rape flowers and corn.”
Your Car Is A Home Away From Home
With not so much partying going on during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hyundai has played down the car party advantages of electric vehicle design in favor of a more functional emphasis.
As Hyundai notes, electric vehicle makers are freed from the need for a fixed center console, which makes a world of difference.
“IONIQ 5’s driver and passengers can freely enter and exit the cabin on either side when parked in a narrow spot, because the flat floor allows the centre console to slide back and forth,” says Hyundai. “This resulted in a fundamental rethink of the conventional centre console and to offer greater function than a static storage box. The newly developed ‘Universal Island’ replaces the console and becomes the centrepiece of the IONIQ 5’s living space experience.”
Hyundai also equipped the seats with leg rests and swivel features, drawing attention to the idea that you could just sit comfortably in your electric vehicle while waiting to recharge the battery, rather than running out to do some shopping or whatever.
That marketing angle is of particular interest in consideration of the COVID-19 outbreak. In years past, CleanTechnica was interested in the idea of placing EV charging stations at malls and retail stores, where drivers could hop out and get their errands done. Nowadays a lot of people would probably prefer to stay away from other people as much as possible.
Banishing The Electric Vehicle Charging Meanie
Speaking of EV battery charging, the issue of charging etiquette is already a thing, and it will become more of a thing once millions of electric vehicles are on the road.
Longer battery range and faster charging times can help mitigate the problem to some extent. Hyundai is turning attention both, apparently shooting for range somewhere around 300 miles with a fast charging time of 18 minutes or so for getting from 10% to 80% charge. In an interesting twist, Hyundai also emphasizes that the Ioniq 5 will get you 62 miles of range on just a 5-minute charge.
Here in the US, 62 miles is more than enough to account for the average daily drive, which clocks in around 30 miles or so.
On the other hand, the “Project 45” limited edition of the Ioniq 5 will only be available in the UK and several EU markets, so over here in the US we’ll have to hold our collective breaths.
Your Electric Vehicle, Your Refuge
One key feature that caught our eye is this:
“IONIQ 5 has vehicle-to-load technology which enables two-way charging, meaning that the powerful 800v battery can function as a 110/220V power outlet for electronic devices on camping trips.”
Aside from having fun on your camping trip, the two-way charging advantage of the electric vehicle is quite interesting from a community-wide resiliency perspective, especially when applied to vehicle-to-grid systems.
The US Department of Defense is among those exploring the potential for enlisting electric vehicles in microgrids with renewable energy for security and resiliency, and it looks like Hyundai is gearing up to attract members of the driving public to the idea, too.
Earlier this week CleanTechnica took note of the dire power generation situation in Texas and saw the clean tech light at the end of the tunnel. We left two-way charging off the list, but as it turns out, testing on a vehicle-to-grid EV charging system is under way in Austin, so stay tuned for more on that.
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Photo: Ioniq 5 EV courtesy of Hyundai.