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Hyundai IONIQ 5
Hyundai IONIQ 5, image courtesy of Hyundai

Clean Transport

Hyundai’s Performance IONIQ 5 Can Handle The Cold

Electric vehicles tend to struggle in the cold. It’s one of the most challenging environments for them. One of the primary reasons is that electric vehicles (EVs) rely on chemical reactions in their batteries to generate electricity. These chemical reactions are slowed down in colder temperatures, which reduces the amount of energy that can be produced and delivered to the vehicle’s motor.

On top of that, there are efficiency problems in the cold. Sub-zero temperatures increase the resistance of the electric motors and other components within the vehicle’s powertrain, which leads to a reduction in overall efficiency. Finally, EVs require energy to operate their heating systems, which can drain the battery at a faster rate in cold weather.

All of these factors combined make it challenging for EVs to perform optimally in colder climates. Range loss, sluggishness, and other problems can make life hard.

EV owners do have some workarounds, though. Setting charge timers so that the vehicle finishes charging right before departure helps keep batteries warmer. Pre-heating the cabin helps reduce the need for the heater, and you can even get away with using heated seats sometimes. In some cases, using a garage is an even better option.

While it’s not as bad as the FUDsters claim, winter does still affect EVs. They’re not crippled, and you can make them work better with the above. But, that doesn’t mean the cold doesn’t matter at all. When a vehicle isn’t built with cold in mind, bad things can happen.

Hyundai didn’t want to take a chance on any of this, though. Instead of just shrugging and saying “them’s the breaks” for cold weather and EVs, the company decided to double check the cold weather performance out on the upcoming IONIQ 5 N, the performance version.

Located near the Arctic Circle, the Hyundai Mobis Proving ground in Arjeplog provides a comprehensive winter testing environment for automakers, featuring low-grip coefficient icy surfaces and sub-zero temperatures as low as -30°C (-22°F). This allows engineers at Hyundai N to conduct rigorous testing of new models, including the IONIQ 5 N, in extreme low friction conditions, achieving the perfect balance between the vehicle’s responsive and enjoyable driving experience and its ability to perform reliably and safely in sub-zero conditions.

Hyundai Motor has integrated its Electrified-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) with N’s cutting-edge motorsport technologies and expertise for the IONIQ 5 N, creating an electrified high-performance vehicle that sets a new standard and offers year-round performance for driving enthusiasts.

“Just as our N models are honed at the sharp corners of the Nürburgring, our N models are also honed at the sharp corners and icy surfaces of our proving ground in Arjeplog, ensuring maximum performance in the most extreme winter conditions,” said Till Wartenberg, Vice president of N Brand Management & Motorsport sub-division at Hyundai Motor Company. “We’re proud to demonstrate the IONIQ 5 N perfectly meets our broad performance criteria, ensuring N Brand success as our first EV production N model.”

Optimized Ice Performance

N’s electrification strategy has always been guided by the three pillars of N performance: corner rascal, racetrack capability, and everyday sportscar, which draw inspiration from motorsport. This vision was first articulated in 2015 with the unveiling of the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo, marking the N brand’s commitment to a sustainable future for driving enthusiasts. This approach came to life through the development of the RM20e prototype and Veloster N ETCR race car, which paved the way for the production of the RN22e rolling lab. The RN22e provided an opportunity to transfer N’s electrification expertise to the IONIQ 5 N, the brand’s first production EV set to launch later this year.

The engineers at N brand have thoroughly fine-tuned IONIQ 5’s E-GMP dual-motor architecture to deliver remarkable high performance in all driving situations, including extreme conditions like the frozen ice lakes of Arjeplog. Knowledge transfer from the all-surface AWD capabilities demonstrated by the Hyundai i20 N WRC Rally 1 car in Sweden was applied to optimize the IONIQ 5 N’s capabilities across all surfaces.

“Our electric transition was spearheaded by the race-proven Veloster N ETCR and we sought to bridge motorsport technology to the road with the RN22e,” said Albert Biermann, Executive technical Advisor for Hyundai Motor Group. “Now it is time to bring all this promise to our beloved customers and I am confident IONIQ 5 N will be able to deliver. We’ve been able to demonstrate IONIQ 5 N’s capability to provide driving fun even in the harshest conditions of Arjeplog, Sweden.”

The IONIQ 5 N, the first production vehicle from N brand, will be equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD) capabilities, marking a significant milestone in the brand’s AWD story. This story began with Hyundai’s participation in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2015, where the brand excelled and won multiple awards and titles, including two world championships, over the course of eight years.

The N Drift Optimizer in the IONIQ 5 N enhances the vehicle’s corner-carving abilities by combining front and rear torque distribution, torque rate, suspension stiffness, steering effort, and the electronic-Limited Slip Differential (e-LSD) system to create a specialized driving mode designed for drifting. This feature is tailored to drivers of all skill levels, offering an enjoyable drifting experience, particularly for those new to the sport.

The e-LSD (electric limited slip differential) system in the IONIQ 5 N was custom-tuned to enhance vehicle stability and grip in various driving conditions. Leveraging inputs from wheel sensors, the system identifies the need for additional torque in specific wheels, which improves handling not just during high-speed driving but also in challenging scenarios like slick ice and deep snow. Compared to traditional ICE vehicles, the e-LSD system in the IONIQ 5 N provides quicker response and greater accuracy, which is essential due to the faster power delivery in EVs.

The IONIQ 5 N also features N Torque Distribution, which is optimized for different drive modes, providing the driver with the option to select the torque level distributed to the front and rear wheels. Working in concert with e-LSD, N Torque Distribution distributes power to all four wheels in varying ratios and is designed to quickly respond to the seamless and instantaneous power delivery characteristic of EVs, allowing the vehicle to perform optimally even in extreme low-friction conditions like those found in Arjeplog.

So, not only did the vehicle perform well in the cold, but it did well in the ice as well. The vehicle, when it reaches production, should be fully winter ready.

Featured image provided by Hyundai.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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