What do you get when you take a 62-year-old cyclist to a racetrack with Hyundai’s latest electric vehicle?
A challenge! That’s what! And Graham Baalham-Curry was there to find out more…
Unlike most of us, endurance cyclist Joe Barr, from Donegal is no ordinary Joe. He holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest cycle of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, the first 1,000km of which he did non-stop. Among many other accolades, those held closest to Joe are several awards during his visits to the States when competing in Race Across America.
So, what have Joe Barr and a Hyundai IONIQ 5 from Daly’s Garage in Belfast got in common? Well, like Joe, the IONIQ 5 is in a league of its own.
This all-new SUV from the Korean maker bringing an abundance of new technology to the fore, as well as unmistakeable aesthetics inside and out, the IONIQ 5 is perfectly suited to family duties and with a range of up to 298 miles, should stand up to the demands of most.
But can it stand up to the demands of Joe Barr, who is fuelled mostly by White’s Oats?
Well, that is the reason this unusual pairing were at Bishopscourt Racing Circuit, on the outskirts of Downpatrick a few weeks ago, to see. And, as one of the few drivers of the Hyundai IONIQ 5 during the endurance challenge, I learnt more about EV’s in the couple of hours I was there than I could ever have imagined, so I must thank Daly’s for the opportunity.
Daniel Daly explains more, “Sustainable travel is without doubt the aim of what we were trying to demonstrate by way of pitching Joe Barr as an endurance athlete against our all-new, all-singing, all-dancing IONIQ 5 electric car.
“As a sponsor of Joe, we challenged him to an endurance race, which we unfortunately didn’t win. Joe can go for even longer than an almost 300-mile-range motor vehicle, but we wanted to demonstrate that our vehicle was easily capable of doing the range that is claimed, without having to drive the car at super-slow speeds.
“The day demonstrated that in a good fashion and at the same time with some quirkiness about it, in that Joe on his pushbike by the time the car had exhausted its battery at six hours, was still as fresh as a daisy and still cycling away. Had we not stopped him, I think he’d still be going.”
On the day, and despite a brisk head-wind on the uphill section of Bishopscourt, which is most of the back straight for those unfamiliar with the venue, Joe cycled a staggering 125 miles in the six hours.
Now, bearing in mind that this challenge is about who can do the most miles on a full charge, the car may well have won during this stint. However, given that the car will take ten hours to refuel on a typical home charger, refuelling being something that Joe can do mostly on the move, means that Joe takes the endurance race honours.
Keeping a sustained average speed of around 21mph on the day, Joe Barr would, in the 16-hours it takes to drain and refuel the Hyundai IONIQ 5, have done almost 40-miles more than the vehicle, which is simply staggering.
Fear not though motorists, as the IONIQ 5 if future-proofed with its state of the art battery which can charge from 10% to 80% in a mere 18 minutes on a 350kW ultra-fast charger. That said, there are no chargers offering this capacity as yet, but in five to ten years’ time when we may see such charging capacity, Hyundai know that its latest vehicle is suitably prepared for an influx of these chargers on the Emerald Isle.
A keen cyclist himself, Daniel Daly not only drove the car against Joe on the day, but accompanied him on his bike for a shift, too. “It was a great idea at the time,” Daniel said, “I had sore legs very, very quickly. He’s an incredibly fit man; there is no doubt about it.”
“Daniel has changed how we at Team Joe Barr think about moving vehicles over great distances,” Joe Barr stated. “In 2021 we used electric and hybrid cars as our services vehicles for the Guinness World Record on the Wild Atlantic Way. It worked superbly and was another step forward in decreasing our carbon footprint without sacrificing function.
Joe continued, “When the opportunity came to race the IONIQ 5 I jumped at it. It was a terrific training day! Now if Hyundai could install a solar bar on my bike I could go forever!”
This isn’t the first endurance test Daly’s have taken on, as a few years ago they managed to complete a journey from Malin Head to Mizen Head in a 64kW Hyundai Kona on a single charge. They completed in the 374 mile journey in the Kona against all odds, as the vehicles range is circa 300 miles.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is priced from £36,995, with the model used during this challenge costing £48,000.
Being the ‘Project 45’ launch edition, it features 305PS of power, all-wheel-drive, a solar roof to aid the battery and an Eco pack which helps heat the battery for improved range. Self-parking, relaxation seats and a BOSE audio system all feature inside.
Words and Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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