EV Comparison: Chevy Bolt Versus Hyundai Kona Electric

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric


On paper, these two electric cars match up rather well, but can we declare one a winner?

Ever since the latest electric vehicle revolution started, we in the press have been comparing every EV available to every other one, and quite often the only thing the two vehicles had in common were the fact that they plugged in.  How about a Tesla Model S 100D versus the BMW i3 REx? Or a Nissan LEAF versus a Chevrolet Volt? All four cars I just mentioned are very different, and if they were conventionally powered, nobody would be comparing them. Because the variety of available electric cars has been so restricted, we’ve been stretching a bit to come up with relevant comparisons to write about.

The good news is that’s starting to change.  We’re not only getting more electric options, but we are also getting more variety in the types of electric vehicles available. I still can’t get a sub-$50,000, long range, all-wheel-drive crossover, similar to a Toyota RAV4 or Chevrolet Equinox that I want, but I digress. Perhaps the Tesla Model Y will eventually fill that void.

So, we’re going to change things up a bit here and compare two EVs that actually deserve a comparison: the Chevy Bolt and new Hyundai Kona EV. Correction, they are so similar that they actually beg it. Not sure about that? Well then, let’s examine the facts:

How Far Can You Go on Electricity?

The Bolt EV’s range estimator offers a minimum and maximum range estimate, as well as the single-figure that other EVs offer.

BOLT: The Bolt’s 60 kWh battery delivers an EPA-rated 238 miles per charge. Since its launch in December of 2016, the Bolt has had the distinction of having the longest all-electric range of any EV besides a Tesla. The Bolt has an efficiency rating of 119 miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe), which at the time of its launch was considered very good for an EV with a large, 60 kWh battery. The Bolt was also the first long-range electric car available for under $40,000, and has been the only one for nearly two years now. However, that’s about to change.

KONA: That’s because the Kona Electric, with its larger 64 kWh battery, will arrive in the U.S. in a couple months with an EPA-rated 258 miles per charge. Hyundai didn’t just barely edge out the Bolt, it made sure the Kona Electric clearly has more range than the Bolt. Hyundai representatives at the car’s launch event for the media made certain everyone in attendance was aware of the 20-mile advantage over the Bolt. The Kona Electric also has a slightly better efficiency rating than the Bolt, measuring 120 MPGe.

Plus, unlike the Bolt, the Kona Electric has a second battery option available for those who don’t need 258 miles of range. A 39.2 kWh battery option is expected to deliver 155-160 miles of range. We’re not sure if the smaller battery option will be available in the U.S., where Hyundai believes most of the demand will be for the larger battery. However, it’s good to see other manufacturers following Tesla’s model of offering different battery sizes, to accommodate the varying needs of all their customers.


It’s hard to beat the extra kWh the Kona Electric has. With 20 more miles of range, the Kona Electric is the new (non-Tesla) range champ.

Which Car Is More Fun to Drive?

The Bolt is lighter and more agile than the Kona, which allows for a more spirited driving experience.

BOLT:  The Bolt packs a good punch with 200 horsepower (150 kW) and 266 pound-feet (361 Nm) of torque. And it weighs 3,580 pounds – not bad considering the battery is about 1,000 lbs of the total weight. Power is delivered to the front wheels, and as one would expect, there’s a decent amount of torque steer when you mash the throttle to the floor if the steering wheel isn’t exactly centered.

In my time with a Bolt, I found it fun to drive and a capable performer. While nobody would call the Bolt a sports car, its 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds definitely puts it solidly in the “hot hatch” category. The Bolt is electronically speed-limited to only 91 mph, so it’s definitely not ready for the fast lane of the Autobahn. However, here in the States, there aren’t many opportunities to (legally) go faster than the Bolt’s limit.

KONA:  The Kona Electric’s motor has 201 hp (150 kW), just one more hp than the Bolt. However, it does have 24 more lb-ft of torque than the Bolt, with a rating of 290 lb-ft (395 Nm). The torque advantage is pretty much negated by the fact the Kona Electric weighs about 300 lbs more than the Bolt. We don’t have the official weight of the U.S. version yet, but the European Kona’s specifications have been published, so we can use them to estimate.

One might ask why the Kona weighs so much more than the Bolt, while being virtually the same size. It’s not because it has a larger battery, because the battery weighs just about the same as the Bolt’s smaller pack does. We believe it’s because the Kona wasn’t designed to be electric. Hyundai re-engineered the gas-powered Kona to accommodate an electric powertrain.

Hyundai estimates the Kona Electric’s 0-60 time at 7.6 seconds, but often independent testing results in better times than what the manufacturer offers. Still, after driving the Kona Electric, it’s clear it won’t be quite as spirited as the Bolt. On the plus side, I didn’t notice as much torque steer as the Bolt, and the handling was more than acceptable. As with the Bolt, this isn’t a sports car, but it isn’t a slouch either.


The Bolt is a full second quicker to 60 miles per hour, according to the manufacturer’s specifications. They both ride on 17-inch wheels that are 215 millimeters wide, but the Bolt’s aspect ratio is 50%, while the Kona’s is slightly taller at 55%. I drove both cars pretty hard and they both handled very well. Having those 1,000-pound battery packs below the cabin really helps lower the center of gravity, and offer good handling in both vehicles. However, the Bolt is definitely the better performer.

Charging Times for the Bolt and Kona Electric

The Kona Electric has a 32-amp onboard charger, the same as the Bolt EV. However, the Kona’s DC Fast charging system allows for much faster DC Fast charging than does the Bolt’s.

BOLT: The Bolt comes standard with a 32-amp onboard charger, which Chevy claims is good for 7.2 kW charging. However, it can actually charge up to 7.7 kW, depending on how high the voltage of your supply is. During my time with the Bolt I recorded charging levels up to 7.6 kW, so I know first-hand it can accept the full 32 amps. I suspect Chevrolet lists the rate at 7.2 kW so they can account for those customers that may have slightly lower-voltage at their homes, and don’t want to over-promise.

As for DC Fast charging, the Bolt uses the Combined Charging System (CCS or Combo) protocol, and can accept up to 55 kW of power. DC Fast charging is not standard on the Bolt, and costs an additional $750.00. Since the Bolt’s inception, this amount of power has been fine, because there haven’t been any DC Fast charge stations that could deliver more than 50 kW. However, that’s changing, and new DC Fast charge stations that can deliver 100+ kW are beginning to be installed across the U.S. and Europe. Also, many Bolt owners have expressed frustration because the Bolt tapers down the charge rate on DC Fast much earlier than most other EVs do. This make long distance travel less convenient, because it increases the length of time it takes to fully recharge the Bolt on DC Fast stations. Chevrolet claims the Bolt can add 160 miles of range per hour on a DC Fast charge station.

KONA: The Kona also has a 32-amp onboard charger for level 2, 240-v charging. Therefore, while charging on Level 2, the charge time will be slightly longer than the Bolt because the Kona’s battery is slightly larger. However, things are different with DC Fast charging.

The Kona Electric uses the same CCS connector as does the Bolt, but it can accept more power. The Kona Electric can accept up to 75 kW, a full 20 kW more than the Bolt. And the advantage doesn’t end there. The difference becomes even bigger when the battery temperature is cold. Hyundai tested both vehicles in cold weather, and at zero degrees, the Kona EV fully charges 50% faster than a Bolt will. This is because the Kona doesn’t taper the charge rate as aggressively as the Bolt does as the state of charge increases, or when the battery cells are cold. Hyundai claims the Kona Electric can add about 210 miles of range per hour on a DC Fast charge station.


Both vehicles use a 32-amp onboard charger for level 2, daily charging. However, the Kona’s standard DC Fast charge system is far superior to the Bolt’s, which is also optional. There’s a clear winner in the charging category, and it doesn’t wear the Chevrolet bowtie.

Comparing Dashboards, Interior and Cargo Space

The Bolt’s (top) interior seems more roomy because it doesn’t have the continuous center console like the Kona has. However, we found the Kona to be more comfortable and have a slightly more upscale feel.

BOLT: In our opinion, the Bolt’s interior is probably its weakest link. While there’s plenty of interior room, especially for a car of this size, and the seating position and outward vision are very good, the materials used and seating comfort just are not on par with what you’d expect from a $36,000+ car.

The much-maligned seats are too thin for larger people, and owners have complained about them having insufficient padding. Chevrolet also used a lot of hard plastics, and the overall feel is definitely more of an entry-level economy-car, than it is of a car in this price class. The Bolt’s large 10-inch center display is bright and clear, even on sunny days.  It also comes standard with Apply CarPlay and Android Auto, but there’s no onboard navigation offered, even as an option.

As mentioned above, the Bolt has a lot of interior room for both passengers and for cargo. In particular, the Bolt’s 36.5 inches of rear legroom is exceptional for a car of this size. Power seats are not available on the Bolt but a heated steering wheel is, as an option.

KONA: Even though the Kona Electric is basically the same length and width as the Bolt (.6 inches longer and 1.4 inches wider, in fact), it doesn’t feel as roomy as the Bolt. Perhaps that’s because the Kona’s center console completely divides the driver and passenger compartments and is positioned rather high. The Kona comes standard with a seven-inch touch-screen center display, but the Limited and Ultimate trims have a slightly larger eight-inch display. The Ultimate trim also comes with a heads-up display, with retracts into the dash when not in use. The Kona comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Ultimate trim also has onboard navigation, with real-time traffic included.

The Kona’s interior also has its fair share of hard plastic surfaces, but not quite as much as the Bolt, and feels a little more upscale than the Bolt does. Heated seats are standard, and the Kona Limited and Ultimate trims come with an eight-way adjustable power driver’s seat. Surprisingly, ventilated front seats come standard with the Ultimate trim. I used them on the Kona Electric press drive held in sunny Los Angeles, and they worked very well. The Kona’s seats are supportive in the right places and comfortable. The Kona has only 33.4 inches of rear legroom, and doesn’t have much room to spare with a tall adult sitting in the front seat. That’s a full three inches fewer than the Bolt, and it’s definitely noticeable. Perhaps that’s why the Kona has 2.3 more cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.

While the Bolt has lots of high-tech features and options, the Kona has even more, including:

  • Hyundai Smart Sense (HSS):
    • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection
    • Driver Attention Warning
    • Lane Keeping Assist
    • Blind-Spot Collision Warning
    • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist
    • High Beam Assist
  • Premium technology availability:
    • 8-inch Navigation System
    • Shift-by-wire center console drive controls with additional storage below
    • Next generation Blue Link® connected car system
    • Heads-up Display (with active pop-up display screen)
    • Rain-sensing Wipers
    • Qi Wireless-device charging


While the Bolt feels roomier, the Kona’s more comfortable, has more high-tech features including a heads-up display and ventilated front seats, and offers a navigation system, which is absent on the Bolt. Neither vehicle screams premium, but the Kona’s dashboard and center console look and feel better to me than the Bolt’s plasticky look and feel.

On the other hand, the Bolt has three inches more rear legroom, and that’s a big advantage. It has 19% more cargo room than the Kona with the seats down, but 12-percent less when the seats are up. We believe most owners find it more useful to have the extra cargo space while the seats are up, since that’s how the vehicles are primarily used. The Bolt does offer a very nice overall package, but the Kona edges it out because it’s more comfortable, and offers more premium and safety features.

Which has the Best Regenerative Braking System?

This is the Hyundai Kona Electric’s regen on demand paddle.

First, I’d like to say that I’ve driven pretty much every electric car available today, and in my opinion, these are the two best regenerative braking systems available today. Why?  Because they offer options.

Some automakers are afraid to make regenerative braking systems too complex, because they don’t want to confuse people who are new to electric vehicles. I can understand their thinking, but electric cars are for different; they should celebrate that fact and not try to make them as similar as they can to traditional gasoline cars. Regenerative braking is probably the biggest difference in the EV driving experience. If done right, it can not only make the car more efficient, but more enjoyable to drive as well.

BOLT: The Bolt has two driving modes, Drive and Low. In the default Drive mode, the regenerative braking in minimal, and you can almost freewheel coast. Putting the vehicle in Low dramatically increases the regenerative braking, and coasting isn’t at all possible. There’s also a Regen on Demand paddle on the left side of the steering wheel. Pulling it forward unleashes an intense 70 kW of regen force. The Bolt also allows for true one-pedal driving when in Low. If driven carefully, you rarely need to employ the paddle to increase the braking force, or to come to a complete stop.

In January 2016, I had the opportunity to sit down with Josh Tavel, lead engineer for the Bolt, and one of the things we spent a lot of time talking about was his approach to regenerative braking. He explained that he and his team really spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the best level of regen was before ultimately deciding to have two distinct levels (Drive and Low) and letting the customer decide which they preferred.

It’s still in the same field as a normal car. There are normal cars that have as much natural decel as the Bolt in Drive; it’s not out of the norm. Originally it was tuned such that if you were to take 100 people and monitor them coming to a stop light, and monitor that decel, and let’s say it would be about .2g’s. The Bolt was designed for .2g’s – to basically act like a conventional car. But the problem was, sometimes you need a little bit more, and it didn’t give it.

So actually just this past December we were all out in L.A. and I said ‘You know guys, this is stupid. It feels like we’re making the one pedal driving be kinda acceptable for the people that don’t like it, and kinda acceptable for the people that do. Why are we doing this halfway? If they don’t like it, they have drive (mode), the i3 for instance, doesn’t have a drive mode with light decel. So if they don’t like regen, go to drive. If they want it, give it to them (low mode with heavy regen).’ So now we’re at a spot where I can drive home and never touch the brake pedal. – Josh Tavel, lead engineer, Bolt EV


KONA: The Kona also has three different driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport, and four different regen settings, 0 through 3. These four modes are activated by paddles on the steering wheel. Pull the left paddle and the regen goes to the next stronger level, pull the paddle on the right and it drops down to a weaker level. The zero regen setting is free-wheel coasting, 1 is slight regen, 2 is about the equivalent of the Bolt in Drive and 3 is slightly weaker than the Bolt’s regen force in Low. Unlike the Bolt, the Kona won’t come to a complete stop in the strongest regen setting.

However, you can come to a complete stop without using the friction brakes by pulling and holding the regen on demand paddle on the left side of the steering wheel. Once stopped, the car will hold its position until the driver presses the accelerator. You can also set the level of regen you want (1-3, 0 isn’t an option) in each driving mode and those settings will remain until you change them. So, if you want strong regen when you’re driving in Sport mode and your significant other prefers weaker regen and driving in Normal mode, you can set it and forget it. You can also use the paddles at any time to change the regen (stronger or weaker) and the car will reset to your default settings in each driving mode the next time you use the car.


To me, this is as close to a toss-up as they come. Both systems offer different options that different drivers will appreciate. I really like the Kona’s ability to set different levels of regen for different driving settings, and to be able to change the settings whenever you like. I just wish the highest regen setting was a little stronger. The paddle makes up for the weaker regen, and quickly slows the vehicle down to a complete stop, but I’m not sure I want to use the paddle that much, so I’m going to give Chevy a slight edge here.

The Price For a Bolt EV Versus a Kona Electric

The Bolt’s base MSRP is $36,620. We’re still waiting on Hyundai to announce U.S. pricing for the Kona Electric.

Unfortunately, Hyundai hasn’t announced U.S. pricing for the Kona Electric yet, so an important component of the comparison cannot be completed. The Bolt LT starts at $36,620, and the Premier at $40,905. If Hyundai offers the Kona Electric SEL at $37,900 or less, and the Kona Ultimate at $43,900 or less, then I would say the Kona wins for value. If the pricing is higher, then the Bolt would get the nod. At the Kona Electric press drive earlier this month, Hyundai representatives promised us that U.S. pricing was going to be announced very soon, even eluding that it might be set by the end of the week, which didn’t happen. Unfortunately, we can’t declare a winner in this category until we have the Kona Electric’s U.S. pricing.



The Hyunday Kona Electric is our top pick in a very close comparison contest.

This comparison lived up to our expectations. These cars are very much alike in some ways, yet are different in others, and have their own unique personalities. They both have a lot of power – the Bolt has more punch because it’s lighter, but it also has a bit more torque steer.

However, overall the Kona is slightly better and certainly more comfortable. If Hyundai keeps the pricing close to Bolt, as mentioned above, it would be hard for me to choose the Bolt over the Kona Electric. But that’s if you could actually get one. Hyundai isn’t going to be importing many Kona Electrics into the U.S., and they may never even sell them outside the ten ZEV states (California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont). That’s unfortunate, because it really is a great EV.




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82 Comments on "EV Comparison: Chevy Bolt Versus Hyundai Kona Electric"

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“BOTH” is by far the best bet yet!

Great write up, thanks Tom.

So the Kona wins quite convincingly, though it’s a much newer car.

Much… newer?

The Untouchables ‼️

Things most people care about: price and availability, aren’t 100% known. Sorta hard to reasonably declare a “winner” in this comparison when IMO the 2 biggest factors aren’t known. Seems signs are pointing to the Kona Electric being a CARB state special (while the Bolt can be purchased in all 50 states, the only 200+ mile BEV that can claim that).
The Kona does have some feature/tech advantages, but then again it’s a 2 year newer car. Expect the 2020 Bolt to close the gap on that.

Reverse situation in Europe, where is our Bolts?
Let us just hope that Hyundai will produce this vehicle in huge numbers.

Nah… closing the gap probably comes with the 2021 platform.

The Bolt is due for a mid-cycle refresh in 2020. The Volt just got one for 2019 (beefed up L2 charging, power driver’s seat, revamped regen profiles), and the Bolt is expected to get some new tricks for 2020. Probably nothing mindblowing, but who knows, maybe GM will make Supercruise available. No ACC is a consistent knock against the Bolt.

So is the Ioniq, which is looking like it will clock in with 300km of range and interior styling to match the Kona.

The Kona is not produced by a company like GM and not advocated by people like yourself. It’s just so much easier to feel good about, so that makes it the winner for me.

If it’s like the Ioniq (I hope not) it will only go to L.A., not even all of Calif.

Thanks for reminding us that GM makes sure Teslas can’t be purchased in some states. Totally an argument in favour of GM…

How good is Hyundai’s Lane Keep Assist and ACC? I’ve seen videos of the Ioniq’s LKA and it wasn’t great, and the Bolt’s LKA is next to useless. Is it improved in the Kona?

That’s a pretty big differentiator, IMO. No way would I have bought a Leaf without ProPilot.

I’m pretty sure Bjørn Nyland tested it and he was rather impressed by it.

The European version of the Kona EV can be configured with “Lane Follow Assist” which is smarter about centering the car in the lane while the US version is only available with “Lane Keep Assist”. The US version of the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell car will get “Keep Follow Assist”. I’m not sure about the South Korean version of the Kona EV.

Although I didn’t really test this aspect of the Kona EV, I assume it will operate about the same way as the Ioniq EV “Keep Lane Assist” in the US model.

Why? Do you do a lot of texting while driving? Why is it you’re having trouble staying between the lines?

Having driven a Pacifica for almost a year with LKA on, I think most people have unreasonable expectations for this technology. It is not autopilot. It is not even poor-man’s autopilot. I will get your attention when both your mind and the lane wanders. And that’s about it.

Good comparison!

Might be worthwhile to compare battery TMS for both. As far as I know the Kona also has liquid cooling. Also, will the Kona offer a heat pump? If either did, that would be a big plus to those operating in cold climates.

I know the Kona wins the Dashboards, Interior and Cargo Space comparison. But if you look at the picture the Bolt’s dash looks so much better laid out and consistant. The Kona’s dash looks like they raided the parts bin. And this hard plastic thing drives me crazy because except in video comparisons when do you ever touch any of those plastics? Seats are a personal preferences. But, given I keep hearing non-Tesla EV’s are only a commuter cars I don’t think it matters.

The dash in your face constantly while your driving so good looking design and materials do matter a lot to me. Good seats are not personal preferences, it’s another thing people assign serious value to when making the decision to buy.

And the Bolt EV has the better looking dash.

And, that GM dash will continue to look good years down the road. Hundayai interiors start to rot and tear almost the instant you drive them off the lot.

I don’t know why Asian car-makers can’t do a decent dash. Every car looks like a Casio watch from the 80’s to me. Usually Korean designs are much better-looking then Japanese ones, but it falls short in Kona IMO.

I agree about the dashboard picture. Also, For a utilitarian vehicle, hard plastics are going to be probably more durable and stand up to rough usage of loading stuff in and kids, and pets, easier to clean.

Regarding “seatgate” GM did improve the Bolt seats for later 2018 produced Bolts and MY 2019.

Totally agree!! I have a Bolt and have been driving it for almost 2 years. It’s seats are more comfortable than people realize. they get better over time, it seems. I have no issues with them. And the dash and overall looks of the car – inside and out – are MUCH better with the Bolt. The interior of the Kona looks like an 80’s K car or a 90’s Honda. Yuk. you really couldn’t give me that car.

Can you include touchscreen UI in future comparisons, or perhaps even compare them in a dedicated article? I love my Bolt, but the UI for the center screen is awful: lots of small widgets that require contact at an exact spot, hidden functionality, gobs of wasted space (I’m looking at you, radio preset pane), and at least one annoying inconsistency in getting back to the home screen.

Home screen button with the house picture on it is right there all the time no matter where you are in the UI.

How can Kona that isn’t available and probably won’t be available except for the very lucky few be winner on any regard?

There is a section that discusses availability. That doesn’t invalidate all other points.

Especially considering that InsideEVs readership is not US-only…

It sounds like the Kona is the better BEV, but it is close enough that it comes down to price, which we should know in a few days. Fair enough.
75 kW charging with a less aggressive taper rate is huge when you are road tripping.

Since both packs come from LG. You wonder why GM chose to baby the batteries? Maybe GM with the largest battery lab in the US knows something Hyundai doesn’t?

Or maybe Hyundai doesn’t care if the batteries fail earlier, long after the original “buyer” returns his leased car? Maybe it’s just about one upsmanship and securing the sale today and bragging rights in the media? You can baby the battery, or you can beat it up. Which one would you want 5-10 years later? GM might be actually looking to the future and Hyundai might just be looking for a quicker sale and getting the “win”.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The Bolt was released earlier and isn’t going to be sold in high volumes so I guess they figured, why bother pushing it?

GM took the same cautious approach with the Volt battery.

GM were very coy about the Bolt charging rate and chose their wording carefully enough that some let their fanboi filter get the better of them.

Or the fact that LG is South Korean means Hyundai knows something GM doesn’t?

Just because both batteries use LG cells doesn’t mean they have the same specifications.

It’s GM chemistry for the cells. I suspect they are limiting the charge rate initially for some cost savings, and to give the batteries more life. They can get some more real world data for their first big effort and adjust from there.

also warranty.

Does the Bolt have an auto regen setting like the Kona? Its the setting I use most of the time in the Kona.

I would say the winner is the one you can actually get. Poor Bolt. It’s now InsideEVs whipping boy. Every new EV that comes out gets to “compete” against the Bolt and because it went first in the market, it will always be a loser to the newer models. I’m sure they’re typing up the Bolt vs. Kia Niro right now with the predictable exact same outcome. InsideEVs might as well just write an article to tell people not to buy the Bolt and to just wait some more because there are better things coming some day. It’s no wonder Bolt sales aren’t huge with all the love it gets from EV enthusiasts. Why buy second place? Why spend your money on a loser? Just keep waiting, it’s trendy and everybody is doing it! EV “enthusiasts” claim that transitioning from fossil fuels to electric as soon as possible is a high priority, but in reality there is a whole lot of waiting and holding off for just the right BEV that has enough plush, squish and electronic gadgetry that one simply can’t do without, all at just the right price. That’s why I find it laughable that the collective brain… Read more »

Meanwhile, all the TSLA heads continue to go crazy over the vaporware “$35k Model 3”. Over 16 months since the first Model 3 was delivered, and still not even sniffing the $35k Model 3. Hell, a $46k version is the “cheapest” you can get! All the while, the $37.5k Bolt was available for purchase on day 1.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world can buy a Kona EV, but Chevy doesn’t make a RHD Bolt. So “the one you can actually get” is a bit more subjective than that.

Of course and I stand by my statement that the one you can actually get is the true winner. In your case, the Kona is the obvious choice and the Bolt is irrelevant. The Ampera is an unfortunate casualty of circumstance and now is just so much noise. I don’t know if Opel is even offering it anymore. I also don’t know if there was ever to be a RHD Vauxhall version or not. Can you get the Kia Niro? If so, that would be my choice in your case.

The Bolt has these features available. The article gives the impression that it does not:

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection
Lane Keeping Assist
Blind-Spot Collision Warning
High Beam Assist
Shift-by-wire center console drive controls with additional storage below
Next generation Blue Link® connected car system – Onstar in the Bolt – doesn’t require a subscription either.
Qi Wireless-device charging

I noticed that too. The Bolt has one pedal driving and the Kona does not.

@Tom Moloughney
The Bolt has 3 driving modes: Sport, Drive, and Low.

Excellent article, although I have a few minor quibbles:

The Hyundai 7.6 second acceleration is really a 0-62 mph result, not 0-60 mph. The confused people in their media presentation by not making this clear. Even though it’s just a 2 mph difference it will show up significantly in track times.

The curb weight difference of the cars is probably more like 200 rather than 300 pounds. The UK 64 kWh car is 1685 kg or about 3740 pounds. But, as you said, there is no official
US curb weight spec yet. One reason for the difference is that the Bolt makes much more use of aluminum.

My impression is that the cold temperature battery fast charging time chart they showed assumed the Kona was configured with a dedicated battery heater so it might not be fully relevant for regions of the US that will get cars without battery heaters.

The Kona also has eco+ Driving mode and an auto Regen mode that uses the radar to sense cars in front.

This has to be one of the best car reviews I’ve ever read. Fantastically thorough, ultra-intelligent, and completely devoid – thankfully – of trite, Top Gear-style anti-EV “twitticisms” and their barely concealed anti-green bigotry.
I hope GM finally sort out those narrow,
uncomfortable front seats and improve the “economy car” plasticky look ..both false economies that could have been so easily and inexpensively avoided.

Paul G

This Model 3 owner very seriously considered the Bolt when it was first introduced. I was at the time a LEAF owner. Unfortunately my wide butt was immediately unhappy with the Bolt driver’s seat during a 30 second car-show test sit. Given that my commute runs about a bit over 2 hours every day, that experience reduced my list of acceptable next EV’s to just one, the Model 3. While I spent nearly twice the Bolt’s cost for the Model 3, I consider it worth every penny. That GM hasn’t yet corrected that horrible mistake of a front seat is a mystery to me.

I disagree on the interior. While the Bolt may seem less refined, that interior will look almost like new 5 years from now where the Kona will look twice as old as it is. THAT is worth more to me than anything.

One thing Tom forgot was efficiency, in cold weather. The Bolt has one of the worst efficiency rating during winter. Take a look at the WLTP testing cycle which adds weather. The bolts range drop to 50%.

Without consideration for price, all comparison on value or overall winner is pointless.

Thanks Tom for such a well researched and nicely written review. This may be the best EV comparison article in 2018!


I like how the Kona is selected the winner and then at the very end of the article they drop the bombshell that you will NEVER be able to purchase one in all but 10 states!

Since it seems that Hyundai isn’t interesting in selling a Kona in most of the country, it kind of screws up the comparison. The Kona really was at the top of my list to replace my Volt– until they took it off for me.

I have heard that the Kona ev will be in Canada by Feb. One thing that really turned me against the Bolt is that they wanted charge me $20.00 can for a front licence plate holder but was free for our American neighbors. So if Chevy wants to nickel and dime us like that for a brand new car i can only imagine what depths they will lower themselves to as time marches on.

You mention that Kona has Android Auto and CarPlay, but fail to mention that Bolt has that Standard as well.

You also fail to mention the Bolt has a Teen Drive mode, 4G LTE wifi, available driver assistance package:
Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking
Forward Collision Alert
Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
Following Distance Indicator
Front Pedestrian Braking
automatic high beam headlamps

Or that heated seats and heated steering wheel are available.

The Bolt also has Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which is very good and useful when backing out of driveways and parking lot spaces.

The S Koreans offer best bang for the buck as always,but Tesla always trumps in technology,so many will wait for the Mod Y IMO.the Kona will not be in NA markets in big numbers till late 2019 or 2020

I don’t know… I have a Bolt Premiere and I love it. The gauges and dash and overall interior are just MUCH better looking, IMO, than the Kona and I love, love, love the huge digital speedometer on the Bolt. And I like the extra speed of the Bolt and I think it’s a better looking car all around. The Regen is fantastic / perfect. The faster DCFC is a big plus on the Kona, but, with this kin dof range, I don’t really use public DCFC charging that much to care. Granted, it would be nice. But I wouldn’t trade my Bolt for really any car out there right now – including any Tesla. Though perhaps the Jaguar iPace, if I fit in it well and was rich.

Your choice of ‘eluded’ was a masterful and very funny replacement for alluded. Nice article. I think for me the rear leg room vs. Ventilated and more comfortable seats would be the difficult choice.

Having driven my Kona for 3 weeks now the stopping method I prefer is using the foot brake. I don’t buy that EVs have to be driven differently and need different skills, there’s no technical basis for that as a software-based system can be programmed to provide any driving experience desired. I want to keep my brake reaction skills developed over years of driving and be able to hop into an ICE car anytime and be able to subconsciously do an emergency stop if required. The four fixed regen coast modes are OK but not the left-paddle pull-to-stop. It’s too hard to predict or modulate the end point, too severe for passenger comfort and often inadvertently changes the coast level as well. 1. What the Kona should have is an optional full one-pedal mode with variable decel with stop and hold, for those who wish to adopt that method of driving. 2. For those who don’t, the brake pedal needs more aggressive regen and should not touch the pads unless the requested decel level cannot be achieved entirely by regeneration. Additionally, the paddle-set coasting regen needs more levels and the paddles should only be used for that purpose.

Excellent comparo. It’s interesting to read how these EVs compare feature-by-feature. Both vehicles need to be much lower priced.

Actually bring able to purchase one should have been a comparison point, no? You can now buy a Bolt in all 50 states btw.