The Hyundai Kona EV is the world’s first subcompact, pure electric SUV. With an EPA-estimated range of 258 all-electric miles, it’s a game-changer. It has the highest driving range of any all-electric vehicle except for Tesla, beating the Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles electric), Nissan Leaf (151 miles electric) and Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric (124 miles electric). And it costs far less to drive ($36,950 starting MSRP), than a Tesla. The base 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric SEL carries a starting MSRP of $36,950. There are two other trim levels available: Limited ($41,400) and Ultimate ($44,900). All three trims qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit and a $2,500 California rebate check.
The story goes that the design engineers at Hyundai were told to set goals for creating an EV that exceeded competing automakers. The Korean designers achieved this by creating an all-electric Kona that beats the Chevrolet Bolt’s range and gets better fuel-efficiency ratings than the Prius hybrid and the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, which have set the gold standard for many years.
Kona earned the Best EV for 2019 Editor Choice Award from the editorial staff at Edmunds. It has also been awarded the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle Award of the Year. It also got on the Wards 10 Best Engines for 2019 list.
With an electric equivalent of 201 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of peak torque, Kona EV goes from 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds.
Kona EV’s 150-kW AC electric motor drives the vehicle’s front wheels via a single-speed transmission, using a 64-kWh lithium battery (versus the Bolt’s 60-kWh unit) that’s positioned below the floor, where it doesn’t delete from passenger or cargo space. The battery system is liquid cooled, with a healthy energy density of 141.3 watt-hours per kilogram, and offers a lifetime warranty against total failure.
Reviewer Lawrence Ulrich of The Drive says: “The Hyundai Kona Electric, with its EPA-affirmed 258 mile driving range, gives its owners a nice long leash—and a reasonably affordable auto loan. That 258-mile range is 20 more than the Chevrolet Bolt offers, a vast 107-mile edge over the Nissan Leaf, and essentially matches the 260 miles of the new “mid-range” Tesla Model 3.”
Car and Driver put Kona on its 10 Best Trucks and SUVs list for 2019, saying: “With its standout styling and long electric driving range, the Kona Electric is poised for success.”
Veteran car reviewer John Voelcker in CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine says: “Some fans find the Bolt’s futurism appealing, but we think your average buyer will be reassured by the electric Kona’s predictability.
A 7.2-kilowatt fast-charger is built into the car as a standard feature. Hyundai eagerly points out that Chevrolet charges extra for equipping its Bolt with fast-charge capability. With a quick-charge, Kona’s lithium-ion battery charges to 80% in just 54 minutes. A Level 2 charger will fully charge the battery in 9 hours and 35 minutes. Every Kona Electric is equipped with a convenient 110V/120V standard charging cord. Plus, there's a Blue Link app for your phone that features Charge Indicators and Charge Scheduling so you can charge during off-peak hours when electric rates are lower.
Hyundai’s intelligent use of aluminum and advanced high-strength steel gives the EV an extremely light yet rigid body structure. The smart-blend of strong weight-saving materials creates more efficient driving with longer range and quicker acceleration. With its battery unit located under the passenger area, Kona’s center of gravity is low, providing more responsive and balanced handling.
Hyundai’s 2019 Kona EV offers a new spin on regenerative braking, offering 3 levels of re-gen control. Says Hyundai: “The regenerative brakes turn the mechanical energy generated by the wheels into electricity when you decelerate and store it in the battery. Drivers can increase energy recapture when easing off the accelerator pedal by engaging in a much higher degree of deceleration. In fact the Kona Electric fully stops when you take your foot off, creating a “one pedal” driving experience where the brake pedal’s only needed for emergency stops. This especially comes in handy during stop-and-go traffic by eliminating the hassle of constantly switching pedals. With a higher deceleration rate than the Nissan Leaf, the Kona EV can recover more energy.”
The Kona EV comes well-equipped. Even the base SEL trim comes with heated front seats, LED daytime running lights, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus safety features including automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and lane keeping assist. The Limited trim adds leather, LED headlights, wireless charging, and a sunroof. The Kona dashboard uses a “floating” touchscreen for entertainment and vehicle info.
A standard Blue Link Connected Car Service is complimentary for 3 years. Using the service in the car, on a smartphone, smartwatch or with Amazon Echo, Kona owners can access remote lock, engine start with climate control, and schedule in-car maintenance. Phones can be charged with a wireless charging pad on the center console. The Smart Cruise Control feature automatically slows Kona down when it detects a vehicle that’s too close in the lane ahead. 60/40 split-folding rear seats offer 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space. An available Heads-up Display slides up into your line of sight when you want it, allowing drivers to easily keep track of key navigation, audio and driving information without taking eyes off the road. A power tilt-and-slide sunroof is available. Buyers can choose among "extroverted" colors that include Phantom Black, Galactic Grey, Chalk White, Ceramic Blue, and Pulse Red, with the option of a contrasting white roof if the car is not fitted with a sunroof.
REVISED JULY 2019
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.