Go green by going blue! Hyundai has joined the electric car party with its i10 BlueOn – and Auto Express has driven it.
It’s the first battery-powered model from the Korean firm, and features an 81bhp electric motor developing 210Nm of torque. This is fed by hi-tech 16.4 kWh lithium-ion polymer cells, which have been co-developed with electronics giant LG. The battery pack is 40 per cent smaller than one using nickel-metal hydride cells, and weighs 30 per cent less, so it doesn’t affect the i10’s passenger or boot space.
Thanks to Hyundai’s clever Virtual Engine Sound System, an artificial humming from start-up warns pedestrians that the car
is approaching. The auto-style gearlever allows you to select Drive, Eco-Drive and reduced power modes, which extend the range at the cost of performance. Regenerative braking is strong – you only need the lightest touch of the pedal to bring the car to a stop. And despite the weight the batteries add, the BlueOn feels quicker than the 13.1-second 0-62mph time suggests. Plus, it’s stable at speed, and while it isn’t as agile as the petrol i10 through corners, that impressive pace gives it lots of character.
Charging takes six hours from a household power supply, for
an 87-mile range. Yet while it appears production-ready, the firm doesn’t plan to sell a mass-market electric car until 2013.