Hyundai has just launched the Kona Electric. The electric subcompact will come with two powertrain options: a lower-power, smaller battery version, and a high-power, big battery option that offers nearly 500 km in rated driving range.
The Kona Electric is based on the new Kona subcompact crossover, but gets some styling changes to reflect the electric underpinnings. The big one is in the nose where the gas Kona's large grille and hoodline scoop are gone. In their place is a mostly closed-off nose with a grille port door for the charge port. It gives the Kona a more mature look that's less funky than the gas Kona. It likely improves the aerodynamics and appeals more to buyers of the more expensive electric. The electric Kona shares a 2,600 mm wheelbase with the gas model, but at 1,570 mm tall and 4,180 mm long is 20 mm taller and 15 mm longer than the gas car.
The Kona Electric's base powertrain uses a 39.2 kWh lithium polymer battery and a 135 hp electric motor. That allows for a 9.3 second run to 100 km/h, but more importantly a 300 km range. That's not the Canadian cycle or the US EPA rating that we're used to, but it's not the traditional (and very optimistic) NEDC European rating either. It's the projected range using the newer WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light-duty vehicle Testing Procedure) cycle, which is intended to be more accurate to real-world driving than the NEDC test.
The long-range model uses a much larger 64 kWh battery, and a more powerful electric motor. It offers 204 hp and the same 291 lb-ft of torque as the short-range model. The bigger battery pack means a projected range of up to 470 km. Hyundai says that both models can charge to 80 percent in around 54 minutes using a 100 kW DC fast charger.
Inside, the Kona Electric has its own centre console. It combines the buttons needed for the various EV modes with an electric shifter. That frees up space and Hyundai has added an extra storage space under the console.
There is also a new 7.0-inch information cluster that houses the normal gauges, along with energy flow, battery charge, and driving mode. It changes colour and adapts to show the driver the most important information at the time.
Active safety features available on the Kona EV include adaptive cruise with stop/start, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane keep and lane follow, automatic high beams, blind spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Hyundai Canada hasn't confirmed if the Kona Electric will be coming to Canada, but has said that they will have more information after the car's public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week, in advance of the EV's announced summer European debut.