It’s 2022 already in the world of automotive enthusiasts, and Hyundai just raced ahead of the pack by nailing down the German Car of the Year award for its Ioniq 5 electric car. That’s a giant feather in the cap for the car maker, which has faced its share of criticism over the years. Now all of a sudden here it is pitching — and winning — a compact electric vehicle while other car makers have been tripping over themselves for slot in the larger SUV market. Go figure!
2022 German Car Of The Year Award For The Hyundai Ionic 5 Electric Car
It sure looks like all those other car makers who wrote off compacts in favor of larger vehicles will have to take a second look at the electric car market.
Hyundai didn’t waste any time tooting its own horn over its newly minted 2022 German Car of the Year award.
The award notification came down barely six months after Hyundai first launched the Ioniq 5 in Germany, billed as a fully-electric midsize compact utility vehicle.
The Ioniq 5 went head to head against other competitors in five categories including “New Energy,” which gave it the edge on winning the overall 2022 prize.
Hyundai cites Jens Meiners, founder and jury member of the German Car of the Year awards, who said that “IONIQ 5’s unique combination of design, efficiency, and driving pleasure helped the car earn above-average scores across all criteria without showing any weak spots.”
“In our eyes, IONIQ 5’s operating concept and battery technology are ground-breaking,” Meiners added.
For the record, Jens Meiners is a contributing editor to Car and Driver. Based in the US and Germany, he has covered the auto industry ever since GM dipped a toe in the EV waters in the 1990s, so getting the words “unique” and “groundbreaking” to tumble from his pen is quite an achievement.
“This victory shows that battery electric vehicles are becoming more relevant for our customers in Europe. The IONIQ 5 currently is the leading model in our electrification strategy and further driving Hyundai’s vision of zero-emission mobility,” agreed Hyundai Motor Europe CEO and President Michael Cole.
What Is This Ioniq 5 Of Which You Speak?
It looks like the Ioniq electric car line is catching on here in the US, too. Tesla sightings have become a dime a dozen, so you know something must be up when multiples of any other electric car pop onto the radar around your local roadways within the span of a few days.
Based on those sightings it appears that the Ioniq line already has fans in the New York – New Jersey metro area.
If nobody is selling the Ioniq 5 in your area yet, you can still get a great up-close look by going over to your movie theater and checking out the electric car’s featured role in Spiderman: No Way Home, which is set to unspool beginning on December 17.
As for the specs, Hyundai explains that “Customers can select between two battery pack options – 58 kWh or 72.6 kWh – and all-wheel or rear-wheel drive.”
“The rear-wheel drive and 72.6-kWh version features a maximum driving range of 481 kilometres on a single charge, according to WLTP,” they add, noting that either way, you can charge from 10% to 80% in a mere 18 minutes at a fast charging station.
The Multi-Modal Electric Car Of The Future
Hyundai almost buried the lede in all that excitement over battery range and charging times, though it finally did get to the point.
“Customers can use the Vehicle to Load (V2L) technology to charge any electronic device while driving or parked, such as laptops or e-scooters.”
Did they just say what we think they just said? Yes, they did. The reference to laptops indicates an awareness that the electric vehicle of the future is basically a large energy storage device on wheels, which can serve as an extension of the home or office and also provide for resiliency in case of a power outage.
The e-scooter thing is especially interesting because it also applies to e-bikes and other small personal mobility devices. As much as we love the electric car, let’s face the facts. All cars contribute to urban congestion, and they suck up raw materials to a far greater extent than smaller vehicles like e-scooters and e-bikes. If the car-plus-scooter (or bike) model can replace the two-car household, so much the better.
Hyundai already anticipated the trend back in 2019 when it introduced a new e-scooter that fits into a special compartment in its vehicles, though this particular scooter appears to be designed for very young, very fit individuals who can balance on a very small platform, which is not too difficult on a newly paved bike path but can be challenging to navigate over manhole covers, potholes and cobblestones. It will be interesting to see if and when Hyundai gets around to designing e-bikes that can fit into special compartments, too.
In the meantime, Hyundai has hooked its steelmaking division into the electric bike sharing market with H-bike. The pilot program also includes re-purposing spent batteries from hybrid electric cars.
Hyundai & The Wide World Of Vehicle Electrification
Circling back around to the Ioniq 5, Hyundai is covering all the bases by including two years of complimentary access to the Electrify America fast charging station network, which already includes almost 700 stations practically everywhere in the US.
In the meantime, Hyundai has also not given up on its pursuit of the elusive fuel cell electric vehicle unicorn. Tempting individual car buyers into a fuel cell electric car has proved to be a struggle, and it is getting more difficult by the day as battery-electric technology improves, costs come down, and charging times come down, too. As with other leading automakers like Volvo, Hyundai appears to be plumbing the heavy duty trucking and off-road sectors for fuel cell business over the near term.
In an interesting twist, the fuel cell market could help accelerate the build-out of the global battery-electric vehicle charging station network. That’s because the growing interest in fuel cells has rippled into an explosive growth in the green hydrogen market, which deploys renewable energy to produce hydrogen from renewable resources including water, biogas, wastewater, and plastic waste.
The use of renewable energy and resources to decarbonize the fuel cell sector brings up the potential for throwing down EV charging stations in remote areas, without the need to build new transmission wires and other electrical infrastructure.
The Extreme-E electric vehicle racing circuit is among the first to catch onto the idea of recharging a battery-electric vehicle at a remote charging station powered by a fuel cell with green hydrogen. The big question is why not just hook an array of batteries into your remote electric car charger. If you have any thoughts on that, drop us a note in the comment thread.
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Image (cropped): Ioniq 5 electric car featured in new Spiderman movie, courtesy of Hyundai Motors.