Renault teams with Irish Restaurant Awards 2017

Renault Ireland and The Restaurant Association of Ireland have announced Renault Ireland as the official car partner of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2017, writes Trish Whelan . The Irish Restaurant Awards (RAI) will travel around the country driving new Renault models for a series of regional events this March to announce county and regional award winners across 15 different categories. County winners will be announced at four regional events with over 600 guests expected to attend each. This year’s host counties for the events are Kilkenny, Fermanagh, Limerick and Sligo. This year over 80,000 individual nominations were cast online from 11-25 January. Pictured above are Ciara Doyle (Business Development & Sponsorship Manager, Restaurant Association of Ireland), and Liz O’Gorman (Marketing Manager Renault Ireland) with two chefs from The Radisson Blue St Helen’s, Stillorgan Road, Dublin. Speaking on the quantity of nominations received, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland

Review: Hyundai Ioniq

In the scheme of things, Hyundai’s Ioniq electric car offers more space and size than the pure electric competition of the moment, writes Brian Byrne.

It’s the same length, for instance, as the stablemate Tucson SUV. It’s wider than the i40. And overall, being in the Ioniq feels like being in a bigger car than it is. So for those whom an electric car’s characteristics will suit, there’s now something close to a medium family car available.

This is going to be three cars in one model when a plug-in hybrid arrives later in the year. A standard petrol hybrid is already available, and will certainly be the biggest seller of the model. Thanks to the efforts of Toyota, hybrid powertrains are now looked on as normal, and offer an economy closer to that of diesel in the correct driving conditions. The Ioniq hybrid will attract those coming down from oil-burning.

But for today, I'm just concerned with the review Ioniq, which is the pure electric version. And my time with it was interesting and instructive.

It’s a good looking car, a full 5-seater with a hint of elegant coupe-like styling at the back, and overall smooth lines which are no doubt influenced by a need to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible. You’ll know from the front that this is the EV version because there’s no radiator grille.

The interior is well finished, as are all Hyundai cars now, and in most respects it all feels reassuringly normal. As it should, because there’s no great difference in the driving of an electric car compared to equivalent cars with standard engines.

The instrumentation is a single central speedometer, remaining power gauge in place of a fuel level, and an indicator of power/charge instead of a rev-counter. The centre stack is like any other car, a good-sized touch-screen and sat-nav system, and easily used heating/ventilation.

There’s no gear-shift, just three buttons on the centre console to select drive, reverse and park. They take a little concentration initially while manoeuvring in a parking area, to make sure the correct button has been pressed. A familiar ‘Start’ button gets things going in the silence we’re now used to from hybrid and other electric cars.

Driving is just like using a car with a high-end automatic, except that there’s no gearbox at all, as electric drive is full pulling power from the first push on the accelerator. The only sound is a slight background hum as the motor winds up, and the heater fan is actually more loud. It’s all very smooth, and acceleration is more than good and can be close to exhilarating if you want. Out on the road, there’s no motor noise, with the tyres and wind being the only intrusion to the cabin. Usefully, the car comes with an adaptive cruise control as standard.

The Ioniq rides very comfortably and handles as well as you’d expect from a maker whose products have brought it to play in the top four spaces of the global marketplace. There’s a good boot space too, a little less than an i40 and more than an i30.

So, to the main issue. The car’s range. First, there’s a line on Hyundai’s website headlining ‘up to 280km’ range for the car. That needs to be taken with caution, because I suspect it was achieved in very controlled circumstances. Each time I fully charged the car, it registered a ‘full tank’ of 180km. Which is respectable in its own right, but actual driving conditions will significantly change that.

EVs work best in urban driving, where the stop-go conditions mean that the car gets lots of small ‘charge’ opportunities as it decelerates and when the driver brakes. In such conditions, you could travel, say, 20km and hardly see any change in the overall range.

On the other hand, from my base in County Kildare, I had occasion to drive my son to the airport in the early hours, which involved 120kms of travel at highway speeds, hardly any slowing down. That used up some 150kms of the range charge I started out with. It’s possible that if I’d taken the journey at peak commuter times, it would have taken considerably longer but I’d have used much less charge.

I don’t have an installed charger which a buyer would get, so my charging was done via an extension lead to my standard household plug. That takes up to ten hours to give a full charge. The charging unit which is supplied to buyers will do the job in around half that time. And the fast charging units in public places can soup up to 80 percent charge in around 20 minutes.

Buying an electric car is still very much a choice after careful consideration of one’s driving patterns and needs. Which is why, for Ireland anyhow, Hyundai is banking on the hybrid version to have Ioniqs in significant numbers on the road.


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