Motoring Insider with Mark Gallivan
The global adoption of electric vehicles is increasingly immersed in deadlines and profoundly serious targets. Currently, 14% of all new cars sold in the EU have an electric plug. That is an increase of almost 100% in a year. However, 10 out of the 27 member states have an electric car market share of less than 3%.
Sweden has the highest market share with the highest price affordability median with 32% at €45,610. The Netherlands accounts for 15% and €45,790. Germany trails down in fifth place. Wealthier countries see the median climb to over €46,000 per capita where buyers could justify the expense of a new EV. Car manufacturers are putting pressure on policymakers to reduce the price walk for new cars down to a more affordable €15,000 to €30,000 bracket in the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive.
Only one element within this maelstrom of EV adoption is missing – fun. For buyers sliding towards a characterless battery powered car future the search for great EV cars to drive is proving more challenging. Two disparate yet exceptional BEVs are available now in the showrooms. One is a brilliant new packaged car, the other one is an electrified take on an already dynamite small hatch. If you’re hunting for a new BEV in Europe, both are splendid choices in 2022.
The Hyundai IONIQ5
Hyundai has drawn a line in the sand with the IONIQ5. Some EV five-door family cars come and go but it’s the new IONIQ5 that launches the South Korean carmaker firmly into the premium BEV sector. Two battery choices are available – a 58kWh rear-wheel-drive or 73kWh all-wheel drive version, each producing 168bhp or 301bhp respectfully. The 73kWh version offers a stonking 605Nm torque with power added to a second motor at the front. Expect 0-100km in 5.2 seconds and 185km top speed. Adding all that performance to a car that looks like an escapee from a concept car stand, makes the IONIQ5 very desirable. The cabin is beautifully crafted and manages to make the tech-darling that is Tesla now look old hat. The IONIQ5 is brave and brilliant at the same time. It’s a true triumph for Hyundai.
For: Standout concept car looks, 481km range, bags of cabin space, ride and composure, dual 400/800-volt ultra-fast charging.
Against: Faces tough competition from sister brand Kia’s EV-6. Expensive for a Hyundai in 73kWh form.
Let’s get the Mini’s puny electric range of 270 km/174 miles out of the way first. It’s tiny and equates to less than quarter of a conventional Diesel hatchback’s driving range. This means you’ll either be limited to city usage with the necessity for home or work charging to make any sense at all as a sole car purchase. On motorways, like all electric cars, you’ll see the Mini Electric’s indicated ranges plummet. One minute you’ve got a range of 150 miles, the next it’s 130 miles. Okay with that? Great, because the best bits of the Mini Electric proposition is the Mini itself. A Mini hatch – regardless of which crackpot crazy spec you choose – is a riot to drive. Few hatchbacks are capable of zigzagging from lane to lane or attacking steep motorway on-ramps with such wide-eyed, giddy enthusiasm. By forgoing the Mini’s conventional engine for an electric battery pack all the existential Mini fun is delivered in a silent movie form. What you’re left with is just the tire roar and a desire to push the accelerator harder and harder to reach the boundaries of fun that borders on hooliganism. If you’re a buyer with no children and want to ramp up your driving fun within an electric car in 2022 the Mini Electric is a highly recommended choice.
For: Brimming with giddy driving fun, fairground ride g-force appeal, hyperactive steering, cool image, brilliant build quality.
Against: Puny 270km EV range (WLTP), limited three-door practicality.
About Mark Gallivan
European motoring journalist, he is an active member and former Chairman of the Irish Motor Writers’ Association. Mark is presenter and annual vote on the Irish Car of the Year Awards, throughout the years he has been a motoring editor and contributor to many print and digital business publications.