Sunday Drive: Going ‘green’ on a road trip with the all-new Genesis GV60
For the third vehicle in our three-part series with all-electric cars, we received the all-new Genesis GV60, the first electric vehicle for the manufacturer. It may have been because we got more seat time, or it may have been the brain power and design that was put into this new SUV, but it did turn out to be our favorite of the three.
We loved the new Genesis for many reasons, but foremost would be the fact that the company has thought completely out of the box when coming up with a design that would be different as an all-electric yet still fit in with their current line, with the electric SUV featuring exterior lines and a flow that were very well-defined, making for a beautiful exterior.
On the performance side, they didn’t hold back at all in the GV60 Performance trim, with two separate electric motors for the front and rear wheels procuring up to 429 horsepower with the push of the boost button that lasted for 10 seconds and would propel the SUV from 0 to 60 in just four seconds. Yes, we were continually testing out this feature and getting our own “need for speed” fulfilled every time.
Another great feature in the GV60 was the new biometric entry, or what Genesis calls “Face Connect.” When setup properly, after touching the door handle and looking into a camera on the side B-pillar, it would scan our face and allow entry to the SUV via facial recognition. It didn’t matter how much light was present; it would even do it in the dark. Similar to having an iPhone that unlocks just by looking at it, this only took about two seconds to accomplish.
Then the driver would have to touch a fingerprint sensor on the center console and the GV60 would be ready to start and drive away. This was all accomplished without having the key anywhere near the SUV. There are some cars that now have digital keys that are connected to smartphones, but this was a first for us to just look and drive!
Then there was the “Crystal Sphere,” something we came to love and decided every electric vehicle should be equipped with. What would this ominous sphere do? Well, not much. It was located on the center console, and when we would turn the vehicle on it would rotate 180 degrees and the round shifter would appear ready to put the SUV into gear.
Seems like such a strange thing to have happen, but it is huge when driving an electric car, as they make no noise and there is really nothing more than the sound of the radio being on to let the driver know that they are ready to go. So, this feature alone we loved because we knew the Genesis was ready to drive. In fact, in the electric Volvo that we drove, there was no button or anything that indicated the vehicle was ready to go — just get in with the key and go. It was kind of strange to get used to being in a silent car.
With the Genesis, we took the opportunity to go on a relatively short overnight trip to St. George from Springville, roughly 250 miles each direction. We wanted to do this to experience in the real world what it was like to have to charge at a public charging station by actually going further than the range on the Genesis would permit on a single charge.
Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, there are only so many places to charge an electric car, and finding what is called a level 3 charger is the best, as it will do it the fastest. In fact, Genesis claims that on this type of charger the GV60 will go from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes, which we found to pretty accurate, although the 30-degree temperatures did seem to affect the time spent charging.
Going that far in an electric vehicle did necessitate us doing some planning on where and how we were going to charge and make the full trip. On a full charge and only running the heat at the first or second settings on the blower at 70 degrees, we could make it to Beaver, where there are four level 3 chargers by the Days Inn.
So, we made the first jump in the morning to Beaver and found the chargers ready and waiting for us. We left the GV60 charging for 55 minutes to get a completely full charge for the rest of drive on to St. George, as we had chosen a hotel that had a level 2 charger on-site and were hoping to leave the SUV plugged in overnight to charge for our trip home. The full charge in Beaver would also allow us to do some running around St. George in the afternoon, etc.
That was when all our planning when completely downhill, as upon checking into the hotel we were informed that the Electrify America charger they had was down and they could not get it up and running again. OK, well, we had time and figured we could charge at one of the two level 3 chargers in St. George and be fine to get back to Beaver — an all uphill drive the next day — as long as charging was one of the last things we did that night before returning to the hotel.
We did get in a hike and some shopping in the warmer 50-degree weather in southern Utah. When we went to the Walmart in Washington to charge, we had a plan to set the Genesis on the charger and get something to eat. This was not to be, as none of the six chargers would accept any of our credit cards. We ended up charging at the Dixie Power office, where it was 50 cents per kilowatt hour along with a more than $5 fee to park and charge the SUV.
The next day, we made it to Beaver with 25 miles of range left; however, this time two of the chargers were not working. The other two were occupied and there were two vehicles in front of us waiting to get on a charger. We spent a wonderful two hours in Beaver waiting and charging, having our second meal of the trip at Denny’s.
Overall, it takes a huge amount of planning to go all-electric and go long distance. There were apps available to help with longer trips, find chargers and things like that. It also cost us $96 to charge the three times on the trip, we had to drive in a colder interior environment than what we would have liked to get the range we needed, and it took two extra hours to get home than we were not planning on.
Being the wave the future, it will require a lot more infrastructure before it gets easier, and hopefully charging times will decrease as batteries get better.
We loved the GV60 and all the luxury and technology that comes with it. Around town, when we could charge at home, it was awesome. Out on the open road on vacation included much more stress than we would normally have attributed to a quick overnight jaunt, as we were always having to plan ahead for the next charging session, and also plan for the time it would take to charge. It took 55 minutes to get to a full 100% charge of range that was only 215 miles in the cold temperatures of November.
Base price: $67,890
Destination charge: $975
Price as driven: $69,650