When the Toyota Prius hybrid came out more than 20 years ago, it made a point of not looking like other cars.
So did the first electric cars, notably those made by Tesla. They were shaped differently — and they lacked the grilles that cars have (up to now) always had.
The idea was to both be and look different.
The electric version of the Genesis G80 aims to be one of the two.
What It Is
The G80 is a midsize luxury sedan sold by Genesis, which is Hyundai’s luxury line (analogous to Lexus, which is Toyota’s luxury line).
The electric G80 is the same thing, just without an engine.
It’s hard to tell the difference, by looking.
The biggest difference is price, which is a function of it being both electric and loaded, as the G80 electric is sold in only one trim that’s roughly comparably equipped, in terms of amenities, to the nonelectric G80 3.5T Sport trim, which stickers for $65,750.
The electric version of the same thing stickers for $79,825.
What’s New For 2023
This is the first year you can buy an electric G80.
It doesn’t make a big deal about looking electric.
Offers much better performance than comparably priced electrics like the $74,900 Benz EQE 350 while costing much less than better-performing EVs like the Tesla S.
Everything but one thing is standard.
What’s Not So Good
Much less cargo capacity than Tesla S
Significantly less rear-seat legroom than Benz EQE.
The panorama sunroof that’s standard in the nonelectric G80 3.5T Sport isn’t available with the electric G80.
Under The Hood
This EV actually does have something under its hood — that isn’t just storage space (as in the “frunk” of most other EVs).
It almost looks like an engine, too.
Or at least the black plastic cover does. Under that cover is one of two electric motors fed power by an 87.2-kilowatt-hour battery pack, like the engine’d G80 3.5T, the electric G80 comes standard with AWD. The other motor, which you can’t see, drives the rear wheels — directly — up front and out back. Like most EVs, there is no transmission; power goes from the motors to the wheels without any intermediary.
Depending on the Drive mode you select, the electric G80 is capable of getting to 60 in as little as 4.9 seconds (in Sport mode), which makes it quicker than the price-comparable Mercedes EQE 350, which gets there in about 5.6 seconds. But not as quick as the much quicker but much pricier Tesla S, which can make the same run in less than three seconds.
Range also falls in between.
You can drive the G80 about 282 miles on a full charge vs. 305 for the Benz EQE 350 and 405 for the Tesla S.
The Benz EQE 500 has 266 miles of range, the price you pay for being able to beat the G80 EV zero to 60.
On The Road
The G80 electric’s silence — and instant quickness (when called upon) — are the only two obvious giveaways that it is electric.
There is no “sound augmentation” as in the Benz EQE (and the Tesla) to make it sound like something other than just another car. As most luxury cars with engines are also extremely quiet, it would be easy to fool someone who didn’t know this car is electric.
Until you floor it, of course.
What happens then is the main thing that has sold EVs so far — that being the immediate and immense acceleration that doesn’t end until you lift off the accelerator. There is no slight pause in between the time you floor it and the moment it accelerates, as there often is with the latest crop of turbo-engined nonelectric cars. It takes a moment for the boost to build before the power comes on. That never happens with electric motors, which spin right now.
And so do the wheels.
At The Curb
If 7 Up was the Un-Cola, the G80 electric is the Un-EV, stylistically. This is because it’s the same car, almost exactly, as the nonelectric G80, other than a few not-obvious differences such as the grille not being functional (for airflow).
As far as its primary electric rivals, there are some commonalities and some differences. Like the Benz EQE, the G80 has a trunk, like a conventional sedan. For that reason, it has only 13 cubic feet of trunk space, which isn’t much for a prestigious car of this size. The Benz actually has a larger – or rather, more roomy – 15-cubic-foot trunk, even though the EQE itself doesn’t look as large as the G80 does.
Both of them are at a functional disadvantage vs. the Tesla S, which has a large-opening hatchback that opens up the entire interior of the car, providing 64.5 cubic feet of total available space with the rear seats down, and even with them up (and people sitting in them), you’ve still got 28.1 cubic feet of space.
However, the Tesla also has comparatively cramped rear seats, with 35.5 inches of legroom (vs. 38.2 in the Mercedes EQS). The G80 comes in about the same as the Tesla with 35.9 inches of rear-seat legroom.
If you crunch the numbers, it comes down to this: Going electric in a G80 will cost you $14,075. That is the difference in cost for the G80 electric vs. the G80 3.5 T Sport.
It is also a much smaller difference than the difference between an EQE 350 — which stickers for $74,900 to start — and an otherwise similar Mercedes E350 nonelectric car, which stickers for $56,750 to start.
It is also a $15,165 difference vs. the Tesla S, which buys a lot of electricity — if you’re looking to save a lot of money that way.
The Bottom Line
This G80 might be the perfect electric luxury car for the person who doesn’t want to make a big deal of owning an electric luxury car.