As the car glides silently and smoothly along the streets of Amsterdam I look out of the window at the sights, crossing over bridges and gazing up at shutter adorned houses. I’ve never been in an electric car before and I’m really impressed with the New IONIQ Electric by Hyundai. I love exploring countries but I often worry about the impact of travel. If you want to reach those areas that are off the beaten path in Europe where you might not be able to get a tour to, a car is a great way to do it, especially an electric one.
I’ve been in Amsterdam for just over 24 hours on a sustainable trip with Hyundai and today we are out for the day test driving two of Hyundai’s newest eco range of cars. As well as the New IONIQ Electric we also drive the All-New Kona Hybrid, which is also available as a fully electric vehicle. The compact SUV has a refined, sophisticated interior, a stylish design and rugged exterior, with plenty of colour combos. The car we are driving today is Tangerine Comet and I love the colour. We drive the car out through the ever changing scenery to Marken Island, totally unique and different to the centre of Amsterdam we stop for a while before heading back past fields of cows.
I don’t know a lot about cars but I do know that when I get a new car I would like an electric one. This mode of transport is the way forward and it’s great to see companies like Hyundai embracing the future and creating more eco-friendly vehicles. Discovering just how easy they are to charge and all the new features has made my mind up. For instance the New IONIQ Electric has a range of up to 194 miles and can charge from flat to 100% in 6 hours or 80% in 57 minutes from a high speed charger. It also features regenerative breaking, which simply put, means the car takes energy that would otherwise be wasted and uses it to charge the battery, for example, when going downhill. The IONIQ Electric is super stylish both inside and out.
Both cars feature incredible safety measures which as a parent driving a family car would be great to have. The SmartSense package constantly monitors the environment around the vehicle to protect you from potential hazards on the road. With front collision warning, avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as the option to use smart cruise control with Stop & Go. This goes further than your standard cruise control with automatic braking. It uses front radar sensors to maintain a constant speed and distance from the vehicle ahead by automatically accelerating and breaking. If the traffic comes to halt the Stop & Go system applies the break until the car comes to a standstill and accelerates to the desired speed as soon as the road is clear. Then on top of that there is the lane following assist which works by keeping the car in the centre of a lane so you can navigate safely even in the heaviest rush hour traffic. All put together it feels like the car is wrapping a warm blanket around you whilst holding your hand.
Hyundai has also brought out it’s new Bluelink connected technology. Via an app on your phone and with voice recognition you can do things like remotely lock and unlock your car. Pre set the temperature of the car before you even set foot out of your front door, perfect for those hot or cold mornings. You can also use it for up to date traffic information and it will even tell you the nearest available charging point.
Amsterdam is such a forward thinking country, I was continually blown away with all their sustainable, circular economy efforts. On our trip we stayed at the most amazing sustainable QO hotel. The QO hotel has a genuine and imaginative commitment to sustainability. From the greenhouse on the roof which provides the restaurant to the reclaimed concrete walls. The shower water is recycled for the toilets and the cleverly engineered lift system calls the nearest lift so as to save energy. Even the carpets are made of 100% recycled yarn from fishing nets and the exterior is made up of fully responsive thermal panels, adapting to the climate outside .Everything has been thought of. The hotel also aims to create a community atmosphere by popping the reception on the 1st floor, allowing for more communal space downstairs, with a bar and stylish restaurant
The hotel encourages the guests to leave as little a trace as possible, with things like reusable bags in the room and eco friendly toiletries by Zenology. While the minibar features loose tea and glass bottled water which gives back to those in need. Although QO isn’t situated in the centre of Amsterdam it provides bikes and e-bikes for you to tour the city in an eco friendly way.
During our trip we learn more about Amsterdam’s Sustainable circular economy plans and efforts with a visit to Circl which is an incredible place. The Circl pavilion is built entirely based on circular principles using recycled and re-usable materials. You can visibly see it at work here with old jeans as insulation lining the ceiling, pickled vegetables stacked on shelves for use in the restaurant and even chairs made from disused fridges. Everything has been thought of and nothing is there to be thrown away in the future. It’s a living lab where they experiment with innovative solutions to meet the challenges of the future.
They want to persuade society to move towards a sustainable world by demonstrating the changes needed to create the circular economy, both in theory and in practice. In other words, thinking big by starting small. It really is an amazing place bringing the community together in new ways.
We were also lucky enough to have a trip on an e-boat and hear about the plans to regenerate old disused prison buildings into something quite sustainably amazing! The new lush green eco friendly neighbourhood will feature residential buildings, a vertical farming tower, restaurants, schools, and much more. All of these new properties will be energy neutral and most of it will be built using old material from the prison. One of the old towers will be transformed into a vertical park with farming plots for local residents, the sketches look incredible and something I hope we see more of.
It was interesting and encouraging to learn more about Hyundai’s progressive future vision with Next Awaits in Amsterdam. It has such a variety of scenery within quite a small area and what we saw was gorgeous. I would love to go back and explore more, especially their sustainable ideas. Maybe next time on a longer road trip from home in an electric car!