Don't call this electric car boring.
Electric cars were once seen as slow, low-performance vehicles that only made sense if you didn't care much about fast driving. Tesla has proved that EVs can be so much more, and now consumers are finally taking the electric performance car seriously. Unfortunately, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric isn't one of the EVs leading the performance charge.
With just 118 horsepower and a 124-mile range, the Ioniq Electric won't do much to scare off Tesla owners. Keen to be a major player in the performance EV segment, Hyundai's engineers have developed an upgraded 2017 Ioniq Electric that will compete in the Optima Ultimate Street Car series later this year.
The result is a far more aggressive Ioniq with a flashy livery, bolt-on fender flares, and Volk TE37SL wheels wrapped in fat 275-mm width tires. Perhaps more important than the outward appearance is what's under the skin. Hyundai has also made significant changes underneath, where the Ioniq's 118-hp battery has been replaced with the new 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque motor out of the Kona Electric. Though this isn't as much power as the 275-hp Veloster N that will also be racing in the same series, the torque figure is actually higher.
Hyundai has also equipped the Ioniq with a limited-slip front differential, Wilwood performance brakes, lowering springs with a firmer spring rate, an upgraded radiator and electric water pumps, and a water-cooled AC condenser to help keep those batteries cool in racing conditions.
The goal of this exercise is to see how an electric car will put up with the punishment of performance upgrades and track use. Gas-engine cars can easily be tuned to deliver more power and deal with the abuse of being driven hard on the track. With this modified Ioniq, Hyundai is out to prove that future car enthusiasts will still be able to upgrade their cars when electric propulsion takes over.