Genesis, as well as its corporate siblings, Hyundai and Kia, have been on the roll for a few years. Each new or updated model is significantly better than the previous one. They all look great and offer a variety of powertrains. Genesis, especially, has put design first, and their cars look fantastic. Interiors are great as well, with high-quality materials and intuitive designs. Having briefly driven the GX70 in the past, I thought the world of it and asked myself why anyone would choose a Porsche Macan over it, relative to the cost of entry. It was that good.
This time around I had an opportunity to drive the GV70 for an extended time. I was thrilled, as I had planned a ski weekend with my son. There was one thing that I did not expect, however. I wasn’t getting the GV70. I was getting the ELECTRFIED (all caps) GV70. Was it a hybrid? A plug-in hybrid? Nope, it was a battery-electric vehicle. And that made me slightly uncomfortable.
We have all read and heard stories of people’s misadventures in EV travel. I happen to live in the city. I have off-street parking, but EV charging is inconvenient, with only one level-2 public charger half a mile away. We ski in western New Hampshire, about 20 miles from the Vermont border. This is 102 miles from my Boston home. Fully charged, the GV70 has a 236-mile range. I decided to have faith, throw caution to the wind, go full #YOLO, and drive it.
We left home with 177 miles of range. Feeling confident, and unwilling to compromise, I drove like I’d drive any other car; cruising with the faster-moving traffic, radio on, heat set to 70F, heated seats and wheel on. It was 26F when we departed but that dropped to 10F by the time we got to our house. While I was in ECO mode the whole time, at about halfway through I decided to dial back the speed as the range was dropping at a much higher rate than the distance traveled, which wasn’t a surprise.
With 56 miles to go, I had 97 miles of range left. The temperature was 21F. While the temperature was dropping, elevation was increasing. Both factors directly impact the range. Here is what’s killing me – I intentionally used the car’s navigation system. In theory, the system knew the expected elevation changes and temperatures and should have displayed the realistic range. Long story short, we made it to the house with 17 miles of range remaining, hypermiling half of the drive. I pulled into the garage and started charging the Genesis the only way I could – with the provided charging cable, plugged into a 120v/20A receptacle. With a max power transfer rate of 0.6kW, I didn’t have high expectations, but I did expect to make the seven-mile drive to the mountain in the morning.
Overnight Level-1 Charging
Ten hours of Level-1 charging later, the battery went from 11% to 20%. This resulted in a driving range of 32 miles. The temperature in the garage was about 27F and about 9F outside. It was a brutally cold weekend. I dropped my son off at the mountain for his ski race school and came back home. I again plugged the Genesis in. Four hours later, the range showed 17 miles. It did not charge at all. The level-1 charger was more of a battery tender than a charger.
Consequences be damned, I had to go back to the mountain to pick up my kid. I drove to the mountain again, super hypermiling it, with everything including the heat and headlights off. We made it back to the house with the remaining range of eight miles and the battery at four percent. I plugged it back in and called Genesis roadside service. The service worked well – an hour later a AAA flatbed showed up, willing to take us to the nearest Electrify America fast charger, about 25 miles away. Interestingly, with the battery almost depleted, that was the charger that the car finally suggested.
The GV70 can accept DC fast charging, with a maximum power transfer rate of 240kW. This can charge the vehicle from 20% to 80% in 18 minutes. That’s impressive but also very theoretical and not realistic. The 350kW charger was running at 134kW. It charged the GV from about 4% to 98% in one hour and fifteen minutes. We took a stroll through Walmart and had dinner at Panera Bread during that time. The driving range upon completion showed 210 miles, which dropped to 198 almost immediately. The 25-mile drive back home, again very conservatively, dropped that to 170, and the battery to 84%. I once again plugged into the level-1 charger overnight.
The next morning, the range indicated 177 miles – a gain of seven. The careful drive to the mountain somehow resulted in no mileage drop. After being parked for six hours in the sun, but in low-teen temperatures, the range was 170 miles. Back home and back onto the level-1 charger.
I planned my drive home carefully. The nearest high-power DC charger was 42 miles away, in the back of some mall that closes at 6pm on a Sunday. I hoped that we would make it there on the power that we had, that the chargers were working, and that they were not all occupied. All I had to do was make it home, 102 miles away. This had worked well. We stopped for about 40 minutes to charge at 57kW. It was a slow pace from the 350kW “fast” DC charger, but I didn’t complain.
Two Notes on Public Chargers:
- There were multiple Tesla Supercharger locations within 20 miles of me. None of them, however, were equipped with the Magic Dock that would allow non-Tesla cars to charge there. And none of those locations had any other chargers near them.
- It was my first time using the fast DC charger, and wow, this is a game-changer. I’ve only used level-2 chargers until now. I was truly impressed with it. Unfortunately, there are so few of them near where I was driving.
EV versus ICE
Despite this adventure, I still think the GV70 is an amazing vehicle. The ELECTRIFIED model may have a battery that’s a little too small and a range estimate that’s a little too optimistic. Very low ambient temperatures did not do favors for the vehicle, the charging, or the driver. When considering an EV versus ICE vehicle, please think of where and how far you drive. Plan and learn what to expect. EV road trips are very possible once properly planned but unexpected charging adventures should always be considered.
It is not the electric vehicles, but rather the infrastructure that currently limits EVs to daily runabouts and not road-trippers. The great amount of blame for this lacking EV infrastructure lies with auto manufacturers. Only one EV maker has seriously invested into public chargers, Tesla. All others just decided to rush to the market with EVs and relied on third-party companies for charging stations. Amazing as these EVs can be, the mistake of not supporting public charging is evident in annual sales of all other EVs versus Tesla.
ELECTRFIED Costs – Is It Worth It?
Finally, there is the price and the associated costs. The ELECTRFIED GV70 starts at $66,450. In comparison, the 2.5T GX70 starts at $45,150 and the 3.5T at $57,750. So, what does that significant difference get you with the EV? I’m not sure. To get it properly charged, one will need to install a level-2 charger in their house. Otherwise, using public chargers, the cost per mile is not that much lower than that of a gasoline model.
It should be noted that Genesis does provide Electrified GV70 owners with three years of complimentary 30-minute DC fast-charging sessions at Electrify America chargers. There has to be at least a 60-minute wait between those charges. That’s between about 40% to 60% of battery capacity.
Based on how great the GV70 3.5T I drove some time ago was, I can’t think of a reason to buy the ELECTRIFIED version. Sure, it’s more powerful but it’s also heavier. It may be cheaper to own but it may be more frustrating. The charging infrastructure is bad and I can’t even begin to calculate how many years of home charging it would take to make up the difference in cost between the two models. The GV70 is a great vehicle. I truly like it, but choose your propulsion system wisely.