• Hyundai Kona Electric

News: Hyundai Kona Electric Revealed in Advance of Geneva Show

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.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Big battery, but will we see it here?

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

Hyndai Kona Electric

Nothing wrong with hitting a hot segment with an EV

. 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.

Hyndai Kona Electric

Inside, everything you liked from the gas Kona

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.

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About Author: Larry E. Hall

Larry E. Hall is the Editor-At-Large at Clean Fleet Report. His interest and passion for automobiles began at age 7, cleaning engine parts for his father, a fleet manager for a regional bakery. He has written about cars and the automobile industry for more than 25 years and has focused his attention on “green” cars and advanced technology vehicles. Larry’s articles have been published by Microsoft’s MSNBC.com and MSN Autos as their alternative vehicles correspondent, and is currently the Senior Editor at HybridCars.com. His work has appeared in metro and suburban newspapers as well as business publications and trade journals. He is the founding president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association and a member of the Motor Press Guild. Larry lives and drives in Olympia Wa. with his wife, Lynne, who shares his passion for cars.

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