Driving 700 Miles In The Hyundai Kona Electric


Car fares reasonably well, but about that charging infrastructure…

On paper, the Hyundai Kona Electric is a decent vehicle road trip vehicle. Packing a 64-kWh battery that promises 258 EPA-rated miles, the time spent driving between charging stops should be rather long. But, how does this translate into real-world road tripping? The folks at Autocar piled into a sharp looking grey Premium SE example and set a course from North Oxfordshire, England north to Edinburgh, Scotland in a quest to find out.

The problems began before the trip even started. To make the approximate 300 miles of the first leg, at charging stop would be needed. Fine. However, our driver found that the stations at the prime charging location couldn’t be verified as operational from an app or a call to the company that runs them. No biggie, though. Another station 170 miles from the departure point would work well enough.

Setting off, the all-electric crossover optimistically promised 319 miles to a charge. Upon reaching that first charging station reality adjusted that figure somewhat. After driving 172 miles, the car showed only 86 miles remaining. Considering it had been cruising at 70 miles an hour and dealing with some stop and go, this is a pretty great result, even if it was 61 miles short of the vehicle’s original estimate.

Actual charging brought home another set of realities. Though the Kona Electric is supposedly able to accept a 50 kW during a DC fast charge session, in this instance the driver only saw a rate of 41 kW. After the battery in the Hyundai reaches 80 percent of its total capacity, that speed is significantly throttled back too. This is par for course with most battery-powered cars, but it’s something to keep in mind when trip planning.

Reality bit again when our protagonist stopped for a “security charge” 80 miles down the road. The Ecotricity station there was out of order, so the driver tried another nearby station he located on the Zap Map website. Though not marked out of order, it refused to provide a charge, leaving the Hyundai no choice but to soldier on without a buff to its battery.

Happily, this leg of the trip was completed with 30 miles of indicated range left. To achieve it, though, our worried driver had endured stretches with the heat turned off, which is, of course, sub-optimal. This was seemingly an unnecessary discomfort, but when one isn’t confident of the EV’s abilities, steps to ensure arrival will be taken.

The return trip also saw problems with multiple charging stations refusing to function. A call to Hyundai informed that the UK’s exclusive motorway charging company, Ecotricity, had problems with its equipment playing nicely with the Kona Electric. Again, this is sub-optimal, though we have to imagine it will get straightened out eventually.

Overall, Autocar seemed happy enough with the performance of the Kona Electric. It notes that over the 694-mile trip, the car saw averages of 3.5 miles per kWh when driving non-conservatively at highway speeds. But while the vehicle seemed to handle road tripping well enough, the charging infrastructure in the UK is another story. Of the eight charging locations it stopped at, only two were functional.

We have to hope this is an aberration, but really automakers need to make sure customers can actually use their vehicles as intended. While we don’t expect every brand to open its own charging network, it makes sense they get actively involved in ensuring compatability.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Hyundai

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34 Comments on "Driving 700 Miles In The Hyundai Kona Electric"

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The reason I will never get a Hyundai/Kia EV again is that my 2015 Kia Soul EV (which I loved, and even wrote an article about that was published here) was totaled by the battery being punctured and water getting in, and Kia handled it very poorly. After I ran over a rock, I had noticed a piece of protective plastic scraped off and I went to the local Kia service center with my concern. They said not to worry about it, even when I brought up the possibility of water intrusion, and didn’t take a closer look.

Flash forward a year and my wife drives through a puddle and the car is totaled from the battery getting fried. There had been a tiny hole in the battery. This should have been handled as a problem early on, and it should have been covered by warranty. Instead, I was faced with a choice of taking Kia to court or going through my insurance. I took option B and am glad I did, now driving a Tesla-powered RAV4 EV instead.

That sounds like a made up story bro.

It is absolutely not a made-up story. Why would you say that?

If the battery pack was damaged by you running over a rock, it should not be covered by warranty, but it should be covered by insurance.

I’m not sure why you think it’s on Kia to cover damage that you inflicted on your car.

The dealer that failed to fix the issue may have been negligent and thus caused the car to be totaled. That is the problem.

Speculawyer, exactly. I had emails that could theoretically prove that, but it seemed like an enormous PITA. Just left me feeling really bummed.

Link to the article you wrote for insideevs?

Vote down there Kumar. You running over a rock is your own fault. The Dealer is at fault and not Kia. Tesla Powered RAV4 means california. you’re responsible for maintaining your car.

I take full responsibility for running over the rock (and that is a WILD story btw) but I did the right thing afterward in going to the service center, and they did the wrong thing in telling me everything was okay. You are right that it is more of a dealership issue than Kia Motors issue, which is ironic considering the nature of the iev’s article about my purchase experience (link above). However, I would have hoped that Kia would have issued their service centers guidance about this kind of thing, so I think holding them partially to blame is appropriate.

Why are you writing a hit piece about Kia dealerships on an article about the Hyundai Kona? Their dealership networks are completely independent.


Sorry for your Soul EV loss. It must be a major PITA.
But you can’t blame Hyundai/Kia corporate for running over a rock, it is just a road accident.
The dealer people may had shown better judgement, but who knows really how to handle such non typical damage for rare car. I doubt it is in factory repair manual or they can have experience with such. Hopefully your insurance covered most of it.

Yeah, I hear you. It was an atypical situation. Insurance did put me in a good spot for getting my next vehicle, so I came out okay.

I’m always a bit skeptical when I read about how much trouble petrolheads have charging EVs they test drive. Of course to make a boring subject (a simple trip by car) interesting it is important to inject drama into the narrative.

Yes, that is a good thing to be cautious of. But that said…the non-Tesla DC fast-chargers have been known to be unreliable. It is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

Sadly, it sounds like CCS charging is working as well in the UK as it does in the US.

The article doesn’t show CCS charging problem in general, but Kona specific compatibility issue, that likely to be fixed later.

There’s an issue in the fact that there are so few chargers per location and no way of knowing ahead of time if they’re operable or being used.

This is why Tesla superchargers will be a great selling point for those looking at similar priced EV’s. Would you rather have a company that actively takes care of them and one where you know exactly how many stalls are being used, or some mish mash of companies that don;t care all that much and are not interlinked.Not to mention the fact that if by scraping a rock it punctures a hole in the battery, sounds like the Kia does not have much battery protection.

How long did this take? Full article shows he started in morning and ended at 8:15 PM, which suggests about 12 hours? 700/12 = 58 MPH average, seems hard to believe with all the problems they were having. Average speed with 70 MPH drive speed + 50 kW charging is about 45 MPH.

Wow…the actual Kona car sounds pretty good.

But the CCS charging network? Ugh.

If the other automakers want to compete with Tesla, they better get off their butts and work on that. They can build the greatest EV on the planet but if the charging network is no good, everyone is just going to stick with Tesla.

One big reason we went with the Model 3 instead when we decided to replace our gasoline car with a 2nd EV (already had a Leaf). I had already experienced the flakey single-point of failure implementation of the public DCFC. I’ve no doubt it will improve, but I don’t want to wait around for it, so bought into the Tesla ecosystem.

That’s it my next EV will be a Tesla.

By mid 2018 there were 50 Tesla supercharger locations in the UK (not destination chargers).
To put it in perspective, there are 8000 petrol stations in the UK (completely exaggerated I confess).
Nobody talks about it but the average distance between chargers reduces in practice the range of electric cars – if one have a charger at 20 miles distance and other at 100 miles distance with 80 miles left, 60 miles of range are gone (I know the charger will be also faster, still…).

Tesla super and destination charger rules, no doubt about it, we always plan our trip near supercharging stations or book hotel with destination charger, in beginning we try to charge in various charge points, specially in our first trip to south France in 2015, numerous apps, different changing cable quickly stopped us from doing that.
Even in Norway where the infrastructure is properly the best in Europe we try some was last summer even simple sucku with was for free did not work.
Tesla makes it so seamless and simple, it beats petrol stations by far, and there is almost always some place to eat and a go to toilet!

infrastructure infrastructure infrastructure. It sounds like the same issue in other places. Long distance driving in an EV with less than 250 miles range is a fools errand. less than 100kw charging rates is poor performance too. The Beauty of 250 miles+ 1 charging session of 70-80% is ok, but if you have to waste time with a third small hit, forget about it. We’re getting there. I think this whole article reflects the poor infrastructure choices along the route. I’m sure they could have chosen an even worse path and not made it at all. It’s not the car’s fault. Was the driver uncomfortable? Did his back hurt? NO, It’s all related to crap infrastructure.

This shows how important it is to have *multiple* stalls at each charging site…. Based on Plugshare, it looks like most Ecotricity stations only have 1 or 2 stalls, if they had 6 stalls per site, this would be a non-issue, since even if one stall was out of order, it’s likely that other ones would work. The US has the same issue with our stations, most of the CCS ones only have 1 or 2 stalls and to make matters worse, generally we are stuck with 24kW unit’s that take forever to charge. And the problem is made even worse by the 2-year free charging programs, so when you pull up to a charger it will likely be blocked by someone who wants to wait 2 hours to get their $2.50 worth of “free” electricity. So, what really needs to happen is, we need all of our charge stations to be switched to 8-stall sites, with 175kW units(because the 175kW ones are CCS+CHAdeMO dual-standard, and support 100kW CHAdeMO), and also, lets get rid of free charging programs. Even if we stay with 50kW, let’s at least get 8 or more stalls. Lastly, I have heard that power outages are… Read more »

Multiple stalls AND the chargers need to be coupled to the internet and communicating their status (broken, open, currently being used, etc.)

EVgo units are pretty good about status if you use their app. The problem with their crazy business model is that it focuses on city centers and leaves the expressways abandoned.

Could have been worse. They could have driven it in the U.S. Crikey, try finding a DCFC anywhere outside of the (2) major cities in NV, except for the much touted “electric highway”, route 95, which has, count ’em 3 DCFC, one at each location. And yes, no way to ensure they are operating when you arrive. We all know that’s the main reason people buy Tesla. GM can build all the evs they want, people won’t buy them without ample charging infrastructure. All we get is PR, no DCFCs.

“this leg of the trip was completed with 30 miles of indicated range left”

lol that’s almost 1/3 the range of my Nissan Leaf with a full battery. Absolutely nothing to worry about.

Kind of a weard article more about charging stations problems than about the car itself. My first schock was to read they were going 70 MPH without sufficient knowledge of the capacity of the car. Why not go “easy” to set in our mind if the car delivers what it promisses ? On top of that, going fast is using much more energy and “extra” energy will have to be suck up from the DC charger. What you gain going fast is lost (and more) at the station, What was the charging speed expectations and up to what % ? Was he really surprise of the slow down at or near 80% ? This roadtest sounds like having been dona by a newbie not taking into considerations good driving and recharging practices and leads to a failed roadtest. I would like to see a side-by-side having two different type of drivers to show how much difference the final results would be. Maybe more to come.

A good approximation of the average car buyer. This is why EVs are not yet there for long trips. Great city cars though.

Great car. Families all over the world will love these cars for generations. Not sure why the Nissan trolls are not attacking this car for slowing down charging speeds. It seems all manufacturers do that. Great car, if you can use it 20-80% charge most of the time and save those 100% charges for beginning those trips out of town it should last a long long time. Enjoy.