Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Promises, Promises

First, there's this headline...

Are Toyota Prius's Days numbered?

Which, according to Betteridge's Law of Headlines means the answer is no. I'll opine that it might be no but we're not sure yet. Which means, I'll give Hyundai a little rope to prove themselves but I am skeptical, very skeptical.
Photo from Hyundai
And the reason for my skepticism is that while I think the concept Hyundai has put forth is right and laudable, I think they've been more than a little cagey about it. And, I like real word proof, which Ioniq is lacking right now.

And, seeing Ioniq in its three forms at New York Auto Show, well, uh, it's not a Prius killer visually or from seeing the interior. The interior looks and feels, how does one say this diplomatically? It looks like an entry level Dodge. Say, from the eighties. OK, maybe that's a bit hyperbolic but it's not the techno wow show I think most people expect and want from vehicles like this.

Oh, and in poker, the FCEV Tuscon is "the tell". The Tuscon gambit smells like compliance baiting. I get it. It's a game more than a few carmakers play, uh, um, erm, Toyota...? So I question the electric resolve of car companies touting their fuel cell vehicles. Thus far, it has been the case that companies pumping FCEVs have been light on EVs.

From the article...
Even though the latest generation Prius has revised its chassis to handle substantially better than its predecessor, Ahn says the Ioniq will go much further towards providing owners with an engaging, sporty even, driving experience. Part of this sport feel will come from the Ioniq use of a six-speed dual clutch transmission, which will be much more responsive than the CVT used in the Prius (and most other hybrids).
I hope the transmission in Ioniq is different from the absolutely awful thing I drove in the new Veloster. Of it's not, this vehicle will sink like stone, the driving experience was that bad.

And finally, I thought this was a fascinating tidbit I'd not heard before...
“With FCEVs we are trying to push, especially on the government side,” says Ahn. “They were always saying no one has produced fuel cell cars so why should we develop infrastructure. It’s a chicken and egg situation. But now we get a lot more support from governments around the world.”
In the US, California leads the way with a plan to develop 20 or so fuel stations for FCEVs, at a cost of $20 million.   One interesting aspect of the Tuscon FCEV development program (and similar programs at Honda, Toyota, GM and others) is the credit system. For selling an FCEV now, Hyundai receives 26 points under the ZEV (zero emission mandate) system. The points are ‘worth’ about $5000 each at present in terms of credits, and are tradable with other automakers. “So the monetary value is over $130,000,” says Ahn. “We don’t make any money selling a FCEV but we get a lot of credits for the future.” 
Like I said, "compliance car".

Ioniq begins rolling out this year with the hybrid version in late fall, the EV version is slated to hit sales floors at the end of 2016 and the EV at the end of 2017.

By the way, I'll be spending some serious seat time in the fourth generation Prius later this month. Look for an extensive written and video review sometime after that.