Hyundai targets Prius with new 'triple-electrified' Ioniq

  • 30-Mar-2016 03:22 EDT
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Officially a 2017 model, the Ioniq offers three levels of electrification in one aerodynamic (0.24 Cd) body. 

It's called the Ioniq, an all-new 2017 Hyundai model series offering an industry-first choice of three levels of electrified propulsion: battery electric (EV), plug-in (PHEV), or a conventional hybrid. As displayed at the 2016 New York Auto Show, it looks like a single model except for minor trim differences—because externally it is one model. The name is derived from ion, an electrically-charged atom (plus iq from unique). And its efficient propulsion systems are aided by a slippery 0.24 vehicle drag coefficient.

The Ioniq "conventional" P2 hybrid is aimed squarely at the Toyota Prius, and although there are no final fuel efficiency numbers, it will deliver at least 56 mpg, perhaps as high as 58 mpg, according to Michael O'Brien, Vice President of Product Planning for Hyundai Motor America. The PHEV has an all-electric range of at least 25 mi (40 km), although final calibration could raise that number to 27 mi (43 km), O'Brien told Automotive Engineering. The EV range, O'Brien added, will be 110-mi (177 km).

12-V battery eliminated  

Ioniq rides on Hyundai Group's all-new "eco" vehicle platform that will also underpin Kia's upcoming Niro hybrid. Its 106.1-in (2695-mm) wheelbase is about the same as the Elantra's and overall length, at 176 in (4469 mm), is just three inches (75 mm) shorter. 

The engine for the hybrid and PHEV is Hyundai's 1.6-L Kappa 4-cylinder, operating on the Atkinson combustion cycle and rated at 104 hp (77.5 kW) and 109 lb·ft (148 N·m). Like Toyota with the Prius 1.8 L, Hyundai is claiming 40% brake thermal efficiency. The hybrid has a 32-kW motor wired to a 1.56 kW·h lithium-ion polymer battery. 

The PHEV uses a 45 kW motor and an 8.9 kW·h battery pack. The EV has an 88-kW motor with a 28 kW·h pack. The battery packs are in a tray, along with electronic control modules, located under the rear seat. Fast-charge capability (the company claims 24 minutes charge to 80% SOC) will be available.

Unlike the European edition unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Salon (http://articles.sae.org/14668/), the North American market Ioniq PHEV has no 12-V lead-acid battery for accessories, which saves about 26 lb (11.8 kg). Instead there is an electronic 12-V tap off the Li-ion battery pack. Under the hood, at the left front fender are a pair of posts for 12-V charging. The EV model will contain a 12-V battery, Hyundai said. To date, except for a Porsche with a 12-V Li-ion battery, all hybrids have been using a 12-V lead-acid battery for accessory/hotel loads.

Hyundai's incumbent hybrid system, introduced on the Sonata in 2010 and used on both the Sonata hybrid and PHEV, has a conventional 6-speed automatic, plus a single electric motor with an integral clutch, connected to the engine flywheel. When the clutch is engaged in this system, engine and motor are locked together for hybrid operation. When the clutch is disengaged, the motor alone supplies power for EV operation.

The Ioniq made a major change by going to a 6-speed dual dry clutch transmission. The single motor system does eliminate a motor from the hybrid design. But although there still is efficiency and performance to be gained, the motors are close to reaching  the category of normal continuous improvement. So a motor of this type is approaching "commodity status," according to a company official, meaning it does not represent a significant cost saving in itself.

The low 0.24 Cd is maintained at cruising speeds by a three stage active grille control flap system, compared with two-stage flaps typically used. The grille has a Genesis-like appearance.

New HVAC delivers CAFE credits 

Front suspension on all three Ioniq models is MacPherson strut, and the rear suspension of the two hybrid editions is independent multi-link with dual lower control arms. That's expected to give the Ioniq the ride and handling qualities that would be superior in the class. The location of the battery packs and electronic control modules, below the rear seats, lowers the vehicle center of  gravity and contributes to responsive handling.

The EV version has the commonly used, simple torsion beam. This design was chosen not to save cost but because it increases the space available for the much larger battery pack, without a major intrusion into cabin storage.

The air conditioning system gets the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel  Economy) credit for maximized use of recirculation in A/C mode, and the control system also permits it in Heating mode. Highly-efficient engines are challenged to produce adequate heat in winter, so this also should improve winter cabin comfort. The HVAC also includes a driver-only zoning system, which  functions as a super-eco A/C mode.

Curbing curb weight is on every vehicle development team's list, and the Ioniq incorporates more than the 12-V Li-ion tap. The hood and decklid are aluminum, delivering a 27-lb (12.2-kg) saving vs. steel. Many of the suspension components also aluminum, with 5.0 lb (2.3 kg) saved on each front lower control arm and 16-lb (7.3 kg) on the rear.

Ioniq's interior materials feature a new blend of resin, volcanic rock powder, and powdered wood that is claimed to save 20% weight on door inner panels and some trim, while improving appearance. The cabin also has wireless charging of smartphones and such expected connectivity features as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Like just about every new car at the NY show, the Ioniq comes with a full menu of the latest safety features, including pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking.

The Ioniq trio will be built at Hyundai's massive Usan plant. Although it probably would be possible to build all three on a single assembly line, the many lines available will bring the decision down to production line efficiency.

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