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Tested: 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a DC fast charging champ

There are plenty of reasons to love the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5. This retro-inspired crossover wears unmistakable styling, has a spacious, well-built interior and is great to drive. But another feather in the Ioniq 5’s cap is its stellar DC fast charging capability, something that makes it an excellent road trip vehicle.

First, the basics

Practically every modern EV can be juiced up overnight when hooked to a Level 2 charger, the kind you’d have installed in your garage or carport, but the ability to quickly absorb energy when you’re out and about away from homebase is another thing entirely. According to Hyundai, when hooked to a DC fast charger that provides more than 250 kilowatts, the Ioniq 5 should be able to go from a 10% state of charge to 80% in just 18 minutes, which is so fast you practically expect to hear a sonic boom. Tap into a 150-kW DC charger and the vehicle is expected to absorb the same amount of energy in about 25 minutes. As for Level 2 charging, the Ioniq 5 should be able to go from 10% to full in a Hyundai-estimated 6 hours and 43 minutes.

Check this out: 2023 Toyota bZ4X review: A good — but not great — all-electric SUV

Enabling this lickety-split DC performance is the Ioniq 5’s lithium-ion polymer battery that supports both 400- and 800-volt charging. Despite Hyundai’s claim that this pack can accept 350 kW, the battery is only able to absorb energy at a maximum rate of around 235 kW, which is still a super-impressive performance, even if it’s far short of what the automaker asserts.

The Ioniq 5 used for testing features all-wheel drive and a 77.4-kWh battery pack that provides a respectable EPA-estimated range of 256 miles. All-wheel-drive Ioniq 5s are potent performers, too, packing heat in the form of 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque. Yeah, they’re plenty quick when you drop the hammer, not just when hooked to a DC fast charger.

Stellar performance

To recharge the Ioniq 5, we hit up our local Electrify America station with an estimated 1% of range left in the battery. Yeah, that’s cutting things pretty close. Then we hooked this vehicle to a mighty 350-kW charger and let ‘er rip… and rip it did.

The charging rate started at about 147 kW, which is an astonishing figure, but it only got better. Once the battery hit about a 24% state of charge, the rate crested the 200-kW threshold. Then the charging hovered in the mid-220 range until we saw our peak rate. The Ioniq 5 topped out at a thundering 231 kW, which was achieved at approximately a 53% state of charge. After the Hyundai peaked, its charging rate dropped precipitously, but remained in the high 170s, gradually trending downward until we hit an 80% state of charge. Then, disaster…

No, the car didn’t catch on fire, nor did some disgruntled Hummer EV driver try to ram us out of the way in order to access that coveted 350-kW outlet. Instead, the charger just stopped, and we have no idea why. This is the reason there’s a small gap in our graphs. The Electrify America station kept giving us a cryptic 11_00H_0 error code, which is not at all helpful. We tried searching for what this means and even reached out to Electrify America but haven’t heard back. Of course, we also attempted to restart the charging process and even switched to the unit’s other cable, but nothing worked. Ultimately, we moved the Ioniq 5 to a neighboring 150-kW charger, which allowed us to complete our testing.

Hooked to that new power source, the charging rate was super slow (at least compared to what it was before), dragging along mostly in the single-digit range. But finally, the taps opened again when the battery hit an 88% state of charge, with the kilowatts jumping to an impressive 63. From there, the rate gradually decreased until we reached 100%.

Comparing the Ioniq 5 to that the all-wheel-drive bZ4X we tested not long ago clearly demonstrates Hyundai’s superiority. Overall, the Toyota’s recharging rate is extremely consistent… it’s just consistently not good. The Ioniq’s peak rate was about 2.7 times faster than the maximum charging speed we saw with the bZ4X. That Toyota topped out at a feeble 86 kW, not even close to its advertised maximum of 100. To state the obvious, the Hyundai delivers a vastly better experience because it charges at a far quicker rate.

How long did it take and what did it cost?

Going from practically empty to totally full, this Ioniq 5 absorbed around 77 kWh of electricity, which required about 50 minutes of charging time, an amazing performance. That figure does not include our futzing around with the first charger that decided to give up the ghost.

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At $0.43 per kilowatt-hour, that electricity cost us a not unreasonable $35.10 including taxes. How’s that sound in a world with $5-plus-dollar-per-gallon gasoline? Pretty great to me. Additionally, if you recharge at home, the dollar-per-kilowatt-hour rate is almost always far lower than that.

Looking at the all-important 10%-to-80% window, did the Ioniq 5 live up to Hyundai’s bold claims? Again, the automaker says it should only take 18 minutes to charge that much. According to our testing, yes, it appears Hyundai is dead accurate. It took exactly 18 minutes for this Ioniq 5 to go from 10 to 80. In more relevant terms, it gained just about 180 EPA-rated miles of range in less than 20 minutes. To go from 80%, about 205 miles, to a fully topped-off 256 took around 30 minutes longer. See? I told you that last 20% takes a lot longer.

As mentioned earlier, the charging rate does plummet past the 80% mark, but still, it took less than an hour to fully replenish the Ioniq 5. That’s an absolutely amazing performance! In comparison, we had the bZ4X hooked up to the same charger for more than three hours, at which point we gave up with the battery at just a 95% state of charge. Overlaying the charts from both vehicles once again illustrates the Ioniq 5’s DC fast charging dominance.

EV Pulse Charging Challenge testing methodology explained

To be as consistent and accurate as possible, here’s an overview of how we conduct the EV Pulse Charging Challenge. First, we deplete a vehicle’s battery to between 5% and 10%, a range where motorists on a road trip would probably want to juice up. Sometimes we go even lower, even to 0%, which can be quite frightening. We do all this by driving on the highway for at least 30 minutes to make sure the vehicle’s battery pack is nice and warm, because warm batteries absorb energy faster.

Next, we find a DC fast charger that can deliver at least as many kilowatts of power as the vehicle can accept, and then we plug-in and start charging. Along the way, we monitor the progress all the way to 100%, so afterward we can analyze the complete charging curve.

Finally, a few important notes. One, in some vehicles, if you enter a fast-charging station as a destination in the navigation system, it automatically starts preconditioning, that is, warming the battery pack up, so it charges optimally. Point No. 2, in normal use, you’ll only want to DC fast charge to about 80%, because after that point, the charging rate almost always dramatically decreases, meaning the last 20% takes WAY longer to get, though as you’ve seen here, that’s not necessarily a huge deal with this Hyundai. And point No. 3, DC fast charging is best used on road trips. If you own an EV, most of the time you’re probably going to be juicing up at home using a slower, but more convenient and affordable Level 2 charger.

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Of course, outdoor temperatures matter, too, as batteries don’t absorb energy as quickly in the cold. During our Ioniq 5 testing, the weather was nice and cool, with an average temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit in Novi, Michigan.

A quick word on public charging

Except for Tesla’s industry-leading Supercharger network and perhaps the West Coast, there often aren’t enough public chargers available to EV drivers, and the ones that are out there often don’t work well. Electrify America is probably the best non-Tesla network around and it’s — to be polite — not great. Our experience while testing the Ioniq 5 was frustrating and, unfortunately, all too familiar.

I’ve never had a seamless experience with Electrify America. Whether it’s the charger erroring out, the card reader not working or the smartphone app being unable to communicate with the charger, something always seems to go wrong. Unfortunately, DC fast charging in a non-Tesla vehicle has never been a stress-free experience for me. I know plenty of you will weigh in to the contrary, but at this point, error-free charging tends to be the exception, not the norm. Naturally, things are improving and they will get better in the future, but DC fast charging is still an issue — not just in the number of locations, but in the quality of service as well.

Written by Craig Cole

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