Mountain Wheels: Low-range Genesis GV70 EV poses some questions

Beautiful and pleasant to drive, the all-electric version of the Genesis GV70 SUV unfortunately suffers from a limited range.
Courtesy photo

Let me start what is sadly another Debbie Downer encounter with an expensive and limited real-world-usefulness electric vehicle with some moderately positive news. Unless you already own a Tesla, then … bummer again. Sorry.

Over the course of this year, carmakers from General Motors to Lexus have finally decided to give up the seemingly futile pursuit of an EV charging standard that is incompatible with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard.

By 2025, almost every EV sold will instead feature the smaller Tesla charging port, meaning drivers will be able to head over to those more-reliable Tesla chargers in Silverthorne (some may have access even earlier than that).

That’s good news for out-of-town drivers who have had only the frequently glitchy Electrify America station in Frisco as the sole high-speed DC fast charger in the area. And, bad news for Tesla drivers, who no longer get the exclusivity of their bank of chargers.

Ultimately, a unified charging standard means less of the 1900s-styled mishmash of chargers, charging companies and their awkward charging experiences, with ChargePoint and Electrify America already saying they will start to integrate more Tesla plugs into their existing stations.

That’s the kind of future, a couple of years out, where the 2023 Genesis GV70 Electrified might make more sense. At present, though it is an absolutely beautiful luxury midsized SUV, it makes almost no sense at all, as it also came to me as a Prestige model priced at $74,350 (before EV credits).

While a Rivian with a hefty $16,000 extended range battery now promises more than 400 miles of range, as does the upcoming Ram REV pickup truck, the GV70 provides a pathetic 236-mile maximum range — presumably not in the cold, or while heading up passes, either.

I got the GV70 with a 90% charge, which suggested about 220 miles of range because I had to use the cabin heater on a cold morning in Colorado, as one does. And while a scenic, 60 mph or so drive on back roads south of Denver to Woodland Park used very little of that power, the minute I got onto Interstate 25 and drove at 75 mph, the range very quickly dissipated.

Though owners of Genesis EVs, like their Kia and Hyundai counterparts, get free charging at Electrify America, I did not, and I drove all the way south to Fountain and waited in line at a busy charger to find that out. Electrify America also places a $50 hold on your credit card for one-time uses, making a $10 20% battery charge an all-around pain in the butt. The 70% in 10 minutes promise at a 350-kilowatt charger again, remains elusive; I am not sure how much that would cost, either, if you were paying the bill directly.

If you are somehow able to magically solve this ongoing conundrum and also are a driver who does not actually like to go very far — ever — the GV70 does offer a beautiful and rewarding automotive experience, all leathery and high-tech, and more small-family friendly than the diminutive GV60 EV.

The 429 horsepower from a pair of front and rear 160 kilowatt electric motors can get the car flying, with even a power boost button on the steering wheel for more passing power, but as I was anxiously trying to conserve my range to get home, I did not push my luck.

It’s an eerily quiet experience, with nothing but some minor road noise from the big 20-inch tires and a few minor squeaks, though you can dial up a few different variations of simulated motor noise if that makes you feel better. The Genesis also features an electronic suspension that scans the road ahead to spot bumps and potholes, like similar systems by BMW and Rolls-Royce.

That meant a pleasant and sportily responsive ride, and enough stability to manage a short section of frozen gravel road on all-season tires.

Space is plentiful up front and in the cargo area (almost 29 cubic feet) but the second row is not gigantic, though certainly more comfortable than the GV60. Mine had optional Nappa leather seating, a suede-styled headliner and a Lexicon premium audio system.

You do get an absolutely marvelous and leathery experience throughout, with smooth surfaces, aluminum trim and the neon glow of subtle lighting. The twin circular controls (one for infotainment, one for the transmission) are less jarring than they seemed in previous models and certainly not as weird as the glowing, flip-over ball featured in the GV60 EV.

The charging port is contained in a hidden hatch built into the vehicle’s space-age grille (I had to read the manual to find it) .

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