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Hyundai Ioniq hits 254km/h in record attempt

Nitrous boosted Hyundai Ioniq sets 254km/h production hybrid land speed record

3 Nov 2016

HYUNDAI has set the production-based hybrid land speed record at 254km per hour with a nitrous-boosted Ioniq at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, United States.

The petrol-electric fastback hatch was the first of its kind to make an official attempt – so could have claimed record-holding status in factory-fresh form – but Hyundai ensured it would be hard to beat with some choice performance modifications.

A nitrous oxide injection system, a free-flowing air intake and exhaust, recalibrated drivetrain electronics – including disabling the speed limiters – and aerodynamic aids were installed, including the front facia from the all-electric Ioniq and some under-body smoothing.

Removing the air-conditioning and other ancillary systems, along with most of the interior trim, helped reduce weight and make way for the racing seat with six-point harness, custom safety cage, fire suppression system, emergency battery disconnects and parachute.

The suspension was lowered by 100mm using coilovers, with the springs, dampers and sway bars all recalibrated. Goodyear Eagle tyres were fitted to lightweight aerodynamic wheels.

A peak speed of 258.6km/h was achieved during the land speed record attempt, but the 254km/h figure was the result of averaging the two best runs completed in opposite directions to account for any wind and gradient differences.

The engineering and quality department of Hyundai Motor America (HMA) led the land speed record project.

HMA engineering and quality director Mircea Gradu said his team came up with the land speed record idea because it was sufficiently impressed by the Ioniq during prototype tests.

“As we performed these tests on IONIQ, the engineering and quality staff became so impressed with the results that we began to wonder if we should raise our sights even higher, and the Ioniq land speed record effort was born,” he said.

Hyundai has not revealed the power and torque outputs of the land speed record Ioniq, but the standard hybrid variant combines a 78kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 24kW electric motor fed by a 1.54kWh lithium-ion polymer battery.

That, and the more powerful plug-in Ioniq variant will be launched in Australia next year. The plug-in hybrid variant ups electric motor output to 45kW and has a larger 8.9kWh battery pack providing up to 50km of emissions-free driving.

Not for Australia is the all-electric version, which has a 28kWh battery linked to an 88kW electric motor and is claimed to provide a full-charge driving range of between 169km and 250km, depending on test cycle.

Instead of a continuously variable transmission used by other hybrids including the Toyota Prius, Hyundai has opted for a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

HMA vice president of corporate and product planning Mike O’Brien said the company was proud of setting the record.

“Our engineering team really pushed the limits to set this new segment benchmark while demonstrating the impressive durability of the entire Ioniq vehicle platform,” he said.

“We expect this will be the first of many accolades for Ioniq.”

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