Big Battery, But When Is the Kona EV Coming to the United States?
Subcompact SUVs have become global big sellers, so a big nod to Hyundai for being the first to introduce a version with a battery-electric powertrain. As the name suggests, the Hyundai Kona Electric is the all-electric version of the automaker’s new gasoline-powered Kona subcompact crossover-utility vehicle. Sized between a Kia Soul and a Honda HR-V, gas models are offered with all-wheel drive, the Electric is front-wheel drive only.
A Whopper-Sized Battery
When it arrtives in Europe later this year, the 2019 Kona Electric will offer two versions. The more expensive variant will carry around a 64-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-polymer battery pack, Hyundai says that it earns a driving range of 292 miles. That estimate is based on the Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which closely matches the EPA’s test cycle. That outdoes the 236-mile figure that the same procedure cites for the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Without going into specifics, the Korean automaker says drivetrain output is 201 horsepower (hp) and 291 pounds-feet (lb.ft.)of torque. That’s enough to quietly whoosh the Kona Electric from a standing stop to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds.
The base Kona Electric model, packing 133 hp and 291 lb.ft, of torque in its electric motor, wrings out 185 miles of range from a 39.2-kilowatt battery. It’ll hit 62 mph in an okay 9.3 seconds.
A strength for the Hyundai Kona Electric is battery charging. As with Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Kona EV will be able to take advantage of speedier 100-kilowatt Combined Charging System (CCS) DC hardware. With such a connection, the larger pack can get to an 80 percent state of charge just as quickly as the smaller battery. But with a Level 2, 240-volt connection charging and the 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger, the Kona Electric with the smaller pack reaches full in about six hours, versus nearly 10 hours with the larger pack.
Mostly Same-o, Same-o Styling
The Kona Electric looks pretty much like its gas-powered siblings, with the biggest visual difference up front. It now features a closed-off grill with the charge port next to the Hyundai logo
. Other changes include LED daytime running lights above its LED headlights and a distinct front bumper with lateral air curtains that enhance the aerodynamics by reducing turbulence in the wheel arch area. The design theme of the front is picked up at the rear.
For the hip crowd that wants the latest in styling, the Electric can be ordered with a two-tone roof.
Inside the electric Kona is a near repeat of the gas models with a softly styled dash and a 7.0-inch central infotainment display. A new high-resolution 7.0-inch cluster displays the different gauges, such as the speedometer, battery charge level, energy flow and driving mode to the driver. The Kona Electric also packs an adjustable regenerative braking system hidden in the shift paddles, which can generate a few extra electrons for the battery when slowing down.
For comfort, front seat passengers will have heated and cooled eight-way powered seats. A heated steering wheel is optional.
Tech and Safety Features
The base audio system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. High-end audio know-how comes from Krell, including eight channels at 45 watts per channel. The Kona Electric comes standard with a USB port and an AUX jack. There’s also connection for every smartphone you can name, and you can pop your device onto a wireless charger if it’s new enough.
Standard is Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of active and passive safety systems. It includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist. Optional are forward-collision monitoring, blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems and a driver-attention warning system.
Hyundai plans to launch the Kona Electric later this year in Europe and South Korea before “hopefully” bringing it to the United States. While no U.S. pricing was revealed, expect the base model to have a sticker price of at least $30,000 before incentives.
Related Stories You Might Enjoy: More Hyundai News/Geneva News
News: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe To Get Diesel Engine, Edgy Styling
News: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids at Chicago Auto Show
Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Tucson Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Geneva Motor Show
Geneva News: Volvo Electric Performance Brand Polestar
Geneva News: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace Revealed