The 2021 Hyundai Kona EV is a subcompact, pure electric SUV with an EPA-estimated range of 258 all-electric miles. It’s definitely a game-changer. It has the highest driving range of any all-electric vehicle except for the base Model 3 Tesla (263 miles), and the Chevrolet Bolt (259). Kelley Blue Book test drivers say they have consistently maximized Kona EV’s range to 275 miles with prudent driving and regenerative braking.
The story goes that Hyundai’s design engineers were assigned the goal of creating an EV that exceeded competing automakers. The Korean designers achieved this by creating an all-electric Kona that equals the Chevrolet Bolt’s range and price, and is far less expensive than the base Tesla Model 3.
The Kona EV comes in three trims: SEL (MSRP: $37,390), Limited (MSRP: $42,000) and Ultimate (MSRP: $45,600). The base model SEL competes head-to-head with the Chevrolet Bolt, as both are virtually the same price. (The Kona is under a thousand dollars more.)
Important to consider: the all-electric Kona gets fuel efficiency ratings almost equal to the Prius Prime plug-in, which has set some gold standards. The 2021 Prime’s MPGe is 133 MPGe. Kona’s MPGe is 132 – just one MPGe less than the Prime, and way more than Bolt’s 118 MPGe. Also important: Bolt’s EV battery pack is covered under warranty for 8 years/100,000 miles, while the Kona EV battery gets lifetime coverage.
Perhaps the most important difference between the Bolt and the Kona is that the Kona is still eligible for the full $7,500 Federal Tax Credit, which is no longer the case for the Bolt. (Chevrolet exceeded its 200,000 threshold.) This fact is mitigated by Chevrolet offering generous cash rebates on some of its vehicles, including $5,500 for the Bolt.
While Bolt offers several advanced safety features, they’re not standard on the Bolt LT base model. You need to step up to the Premiere trim to get them. The Kona comes standard with a full suite of accident-avoidance systems including: Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, adaptive cruise control, a Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind-Spot Warning with rear cross-traffic assist. Automatic high beam headlamps are included with the Limited and Ultimate trims.
Kona earned the Best EV for 2019 Editor Choice Award from Edmunds. It received the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle Award of the Year. It also got on the Wards 10 Best Engines for 2019 list. And Kelley Blue Book has given the Kona EV its Electric Vehicle Best Buy of 2021 Award. Says caranddriver.com reviewer Drew Dorian: “Kona Electric's unique looks still turns heads like the regular version. Rival EVs such as the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3 and Kira Niro EV offer similar functionality, but the Hyundai's starting price and unbeatable warranty makes it one of the smarter choices in the segment, earning it a Car & Driver Editor’s Choice Award.”
The Kona Electric operates with a 64.0-kWh battery, which powers a 150-kW electric motor, which drives the front wheels with 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque. A 7.2-kilowatt fast-charger is built into the car as a standard feature. The Bolt base model lacks a fast charger – it’s an available option (though it comes standard on the Bolt Premiere trim level).
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 2021 Kona EV offers 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 is well-equipped. All three trims come standard with: Heated front seats, 60/40 split fold-flat rear seatback with adjustable head restraints, a dual-level cargo floor, a 7-inch color touchscreen AM/FM/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers and SiriusXM/HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Dual USB outlets, 4 Blue Link packages (Connected car System, Connected Care, Remote Package and Guidance Package), a rear-view monitor with parking guidance, automatic temperature, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted auto, Bluetooth and cruise controls, power windows and a Proximity Key with push button start.
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: Ultra Black, Galactic Grey, Chalk White, Sonic Silver, Ceramic Blue, and Pulse Red.
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.