Remember the old days?
Wow, those were simpler times back then. You asked what the gas mileage of a car was, people would tell you it does so-many miles per gallon with this type of fuel on these kinds of roads.
Sure, you gave and took a little depending on the quality of the gas and whether you were driving on highways or in town, because each factor had an impact on the amount of distance you could get out of your gallon, but more or less, it was a simple equation.
In the age of the electric vehicle – and in particular, the age of the variants of the electric vehicle – you can kiss goodbye to that kind of simplicity.
Because now, something like the Hyundai Iconiq, the compact 5-door liftback from South Korea, comes in three fuel options, which multiplies the calculation by at least a factor of two.
Wait – three variants, but a factor of two?
Sure. The Iconiq is available in:
- Plug-in Hybrid, and
- Full Electric models.
That being the case, there can’t be what are technically “gas” mileage figures for the full electric version, right? So a factor of two.
You… you want some figures for the full electric version too? OK, we can give you those, but you have to promise to keep in mind they won’t be the same as genuine gas mileage figures, because no gasoline was harmed in the making of those numbers. Deal?
OK, before we go any further, let’s be sure we understand the difference between these variants. In reverse order, then:
Full Electric – the easiest of the options to understand. No gas tank, just pure electric charging. If you forget to charge the electric motor, what you have is an expensive piece of garage furniture and a favor to ask of your smug friend, Phil, when you need to get anywhere.
Plug-in Hybrid – has a gas tank and an electric motor. The electric motor greatly assists the gas mileage, but if, for instance, you forget to charge the electric motor, the car will still run – it will run like a standard gas-powered car, because at that point, that’s what it will be. It will however lose its mileage superpower, because the electric motor will be dead until charged.
Hybrid – what’s also known as a full or parallel hybrid, this is mostly a gas-driven car, but one that holds small amounts of electric charge for a mileage boost or slow-speed city driving. No charging needed, as the electricity in a full hybrid is generated by burning gasoline.
What should be clear too is that while the Full Electric won’t strictly have a “gas mileage,” the Full Hybrid will be tricky to break down into gas miles and electro-boosted gas miles. If nothing else though, the Plug-In Hybrid should break down into reasonably clear statistics for gas mileage, electro-mileage and probably, just because it can, combined mileage.
So what are we talking about with the Hyundai Iconiq?
Well – let’s take the electric first, since you insisted on our getting some data for it.
When you fully charge the battery in the Full Electric Iconiq, what you end up with is a vehicle with 38.3 kWh of power to use in pushing you along the road. For convenience, let’s get rid of the “k” component – that’s 38,300 Wh – Watt-hours – of charge.
The Full Electric Iconiq uses 245 Wh/mile. Sure, there’s math you can do there, or you can take our word for it that that breaks down to an average range of 155 miles per full charge. It’s an average because the actual mileage breaks down differently according to terrain and temperature. And yes, we have those figures for you, too.
|City – Cold Weather||145 mi|
|Highway – Cold Weather||110 mi|
|Combined – Cold Weather||125 mi|
|City – Mild Weather||225 mi|
|Highway – Mild Weather||140 mi|
|Combined – Mild Weather||180 mi|
So, depending where you drive and the temperature in which you drive it, the real mileage per full charge in the Full Electric Iconiq is anywhere between 110 miles and 225 miles. From that, we get the average of 155 miles per full charge.
But you don’t want to know the mileage per full charge, do you? That’s like asking how far a gas-driver car will run on a full tank. OK. There’s a mathematical conversion clever people use to translate Watt-hour/mile figures into miles per gallon equivalent figures. Apply the formula to the Full Electric Iconiq and you get an equivalent of 164 mpg.
Stick with us, the fun is just beginning.
Let’s take the Plug-In Hybrid. That combines a 45 kW electric motor and a 1.6-L GDI four-cylinder engine, with 40% thermal efficiency, delivering 78kW.
Where the Plug-In Hybrid scores well though is in its combined fuel economy. Using its top-up facility, once you crunch the numbers it gives an average of 83.5mpg combined.
As for the Full Hybrid, mileage figures (again, with some give and take for terrain type and temperature) average out to 62.8mpg. If you want to save gas on using your Full Hybrid, you can get around 30 miles out of the car on pure electric, though it’s worth remembering that electric power is still coming from burned gasoline, rather than from any charging element.
Ironically then, what we find is that the Full Hybrid – by far the favorite choice of drivers so far, gives the least fuel efficiency of the three options, and the smallest gas mileage figure. What boosts the take-up of Full Hybrids though is the psychological element of there being nothing extra to do to the car, other than to fill it with gas as normal.
Both the Plug-In Hybrid and the Full Electric give significantly better fuel economies, but involve admitting the electric element into our lives and car habits. The evidence is clear, though. Full Electric is the way to go, sooner, or as seems more likely, later. Ideally before the world burns.