Hyundai Kona Electric Makes The EV Normal

JAN 8 2019 BY VANJA KLJAIC 48

The Hyundai Kona is considered by many as the mainstream, completely ordinary, and easy to live with compact battery-powered SUV

For many, the dawn of the electric revolution in the automotive world meant flashy and high-powered Tesla’s, packed with impressive additions from the likes of the Model S and Model X. However, for most of us, until the electric vehicle becomes mainstream, it could all be considered just a fad. Not a steady course for the automotive industry.

In turn, the advent of a vehicle such as the Hyundai Kona, signifies that mainstream entry of a model that might be electric, but it’s not expensive, it’s not overwhelming (or underwhelming for that matter) in any area, it does its job well, and it brings the electric revolution to the middle of the market.

Mainstream EV

The Hyundai Kona starts at $37,495 – or $29,995 once you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit – it promises an EPA rated 258-mile range on a single charge and to many, is the best bang for buck electric vehicle out there. Yes, in some areas, it may even surpass the highly coveted Tesla Model 3 – the entry level model from the California based carmaker.

In all, the Kona pretty much makes the EV normal. And that’s a good thing. It brings not the performance figures as the staple of its existence. It doesn’t push forward with fancy autonomous driving technology. And it certainly doesn’t offer luxurious gizmos like a huge front touchscreen, highly refined leather seats or an all-encompassing glass roof. But, it does bring EVs into the mainstream, that’s for sure.

The appeal of the Kona is underlined in an article by the Automobile Mag. It’s this article where the South Korean EV gets most of its praises. And to be frank, most of them are highly warranted. It’s a good read that gives us a rather objective look at one of the most appealing EVs on the market today. Furthermore, it shows us that nothing will stop the electric revolution, no matter how hard some try. And to put matters into perspective, as stated earlier, the Kona is not some highly expensive luxurious piece of electric motoring that most can only dream of owning. It’s a vehicle that costs just a bit more than a VW Golf, does exceptional mileage and looks good enough to appeal to the younger crowds. And by that, the Kona is bringing the EV to the mainstream in a rather spectacular way.

Hyundai Kona Electric
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Source: Automobilemag

Categories: Hyundai

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48 Comments on "Hyundai Kona Electric Makes The EV Normal"

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Lets see if they sell more than the 345 Hyundai Ioniq EVs they sold in 12 months in the US. We generally aren’t too keen on compact hatches, but if people perceive this as a CUV it might do better. It also has a slightly better feature set than the Bolt EV. However, they actually have to ship some over here.

Yes, this car is destined for success. All that is left is how much of that success will come in the form of US sales.

The big story in EV’s for 2019 will be where the top EV car companies decide to ship their EV’s.

Depends on your definition of success. If sales in similar gasser (hot hatch) is any indication, it will be about 20K cars per year, best case is hatch (like lot cheaper Focus) at 50K/yr.

I suspect this is why GM projected 30K to 50K/yr, because similar form gasser was selling less than that. In that regard, Bolt has been “success” too since it surpassed GTI in sales.

Way better feature set than Bolt. Power seats, dynamic cruise, heads up display, 6″ road clearance, heated wheel. Kona beats the Bolt and Model 3 on features.

Bolt has the same 6” clearance, FYI.

And heated wheel. But the lack of power seats and dynamic cruise is an issue in the Bolt.

No doubt about it, at this price they will sell all they can produce. The question is how many will they produce in 2019?

in Canada the fully loaded Kona EV (taxes etc. included-8000$ provincial rebate)comes exactly to final+55 000Can$.

$63k (for those outside QC(?)) will get you a fully loaded X1 or XC40 and some change to refuel for a few years.

While it’s definitely in the right direction it’s still got a fair chunk to go to be equal to the ICE version cost wise.

I agree. It is still way over the price the average middle class family can afford, or willing to pay for a set of wheels.

$45K premium Kona less $7,500 US tax credit would be $37,500 US.

XI FWD with similar premium features is $41,000 plus gasoline and 5.6 tons of pollution.

Don’t see a real comparison to someone looking for an EV.

Mainstreamers want the benefits of EVs without having to endure the weirdness of many offerings to date. The Kona is aimed squarely at those consumers, and I applaud Hyundai for figuring it out and executing on that vision.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Bolt isn’t weird.
2018 Leaf isn’t weird.
Teslas aren’t weird.
Compliance adaptations from other manufacturers haven’t been weird.

Really, we’ve just see weird concept cars, the i3 and Leaf 1’s headlights. There hasn’t been a whole lot of weirdness in the marketplace.

Most people are comparing American fuel prices when estimating savings. That’s great for America – Canada is a different story all together. We currently pay the equivalent of nearly $4.00 per US Gal. For myself in particular, the Kona EV is about $20,000 more than the ICE variant. I’m currently spending over $5,000 per year in fuel at today’s cost. That’s less than 4 years to make up the difference. If fuel prices increase – that number goes down exponentially. This doesn’t even take into considering the lack of guilt I’ll have by not polluting. Charging will also cost me nothing as my employer has many Level-2 chargers for free! all of this adds up – it’s not really an apples to apples conversation.

Base model EV Kona is still 50% more expensive than base model Kona fossil car ($30k vs $20k) after the Federal rebate. Try explaining to the average working guy/gal why they should spend an extra $10k on the EV model. Good luck.

Fuel cost savings.

$10K buys a lot of gas. $3/gallon is 3,000 gallons. @ 25mpg, that is 75,000 miles assuming electricity is free which is NOT.

Not saying that ICE Kona is more desirable. But for those saving alone, it will take years if ever to break even on $10K.

Even at 4 miles/kWh ($0.12/kWh which is on the low side) and $0.03/miles, a $0.12/miles ICE version would need 110,000 miles just to break even.

Don’t forget maintenance cost difference.
…but i agree, $10K is too much to recover.

For most modern ICE cars in this class, there isn’t too much service needed in the first 8 years and 100K miles.

Oil change every 5K miles means 20 oil change to 100K miles. Newer engines can almost do 1 oil change per 10K miles with synthetic. That will cut it down to 10 oil changes.

2 coolant flushes (which may also need at least 1 on EVs)

1 transmission fluid flush around 50K to 60K miles.

1 engine filter per 2 year if normal usage.

1 set of brake pads.

Brake fluid change 2x to 3x (EVs needs those as well).

That is at most $2k-3K in total.

This assumes that the price of gas will not rise in the future. Electricity prices tend to be much more stable than gas prices.

Kona is definitely a nice offer, getting as close to mainstream as possible.

But: Fuel cost savings over 75,000 miles yields $3,250 comparing to 30 mpg Kona, or whooping $750 comparing to 50 mpg Niro FE hybrid.
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=40585&id=40431&id=39617
– assuming no yearly road tax or DC charging costs on road trips.
You may try to iXplain that such “savings” offset $10k of remaining price premium to math challenged mainstream buyer. But more likely you will make impression as math challenged and/or dishonest car salesmen yourself.

$50 oil changes every 7,500 miles are not big savings either. No way to offset $15k-$20k premium unless you manage to milk taxpayers for more than $7500 tax credit. E.g. like in Norway.

BTW Hyundai advertises good battery warranty. But please note it is for original owner of MY 2017+ only and “The Lifetime Hybrid/Electric Battery Warranty does not apply to lease, commercial vehicles or vehicles serviced outside the U.S.”

Maintenance cost savings.

Most brand new ICE cars don’t need much service in the first 8 years and 100K miles.

LOL….so you never owned BMW or Benz?

Are the 2 base models comparable?
Usually the ev versions get lots of options that don’t come with the base ice versions.

Too normal unfortunately. Having driven it at work it is a remarkably dull vehicle with no “EV grin” whatsoever.

In achieving its impressive EV range Hyundai have produced a small, plain and expensive competitor to its own ICE version. Overall value for money is poor when you consider how little car, performance and styling you are buying. Model 3 at least competes on price and performance with equivalent ICE in its market segment.

It will also never be mass produced in quantities larger than 20-30,000 per annum as I suspect it’s a loss leader for Hyundai while they work on fuel cells.

If you want fun get an i3, a Model 3 or even an old Leaf. I own a Leaf and I would take that over the Kona any day despite less range!

20k/30k per annum number is according to who?? They’re ramping up like crazy and sold something like 5.5k in November with a run rate of almost 65k per annum

You are right. Some figures on web refer to 20,000 EV Konas per annum but data from November suggests 1,000 per week.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

As with everybody else, there are cell supply constraints that are affecting manufacturers’ approaches to the segment. I just wish they wouldn’t feign surprise at the demand.

All on menu Teslas now do not have “highly refined leather seats”…

You post that as if you don’t even have any clue why.

“The appeal of the Kona is underlined in an article by the Automobile Mag.”

Hmmm… Reading that article:

“And while driving excitement is not exactly a cornerstone of the Kona, the electric version’s lower center of gravity keeps it nicely balanced and stable in corners, at least until the low-rolling-resistance tires begin to give up their grip. The ride is comfortable, steady, and relatively quiet, and the overall driving experience pleasant.”

Sounds like average mill version of typical BEV.

Best compliment?

” The Kona is rated by the EPA to travel 258 miles on a single charge and it is priced at $37,495—or $29,995 once you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit. We’ll remind you that this sort of long-range, affordable EV is what Tesla has been promising for two years, what its customers literally lined up to buy, and what it has yet to deliver in the form of its Model 3 sedan. (In our opinion, anyone still waiting for a cheap Model 3 instead of buying a Chevrolet Bolt or one of these Kona Electrics doesn’t really want an EV, they want a status symbol.)”

That last bit about how Tesla can’t build it and if you don’t want this you want a status symbol is 100% dead on.

Not entirely true. Mostly I want style, performance, proven battery tech and to support Tesla’s dynamic approach to changing the market. I also don’t want a cramped god-awful CUV.

A much smaller part of me wants the silver T badge.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

No. I want a manufacturer who I know understands and is committed to BEVs. If Tesla is able to build the SR for $35k, it’ll be able to make more of them in a week than others are making in a month, and it’d be doing so because it committed to long-range BEV years over 10 years ago.
If Tesla fails, then I’ll buy an alternative.

People who bang on about Teslas being status symbols are the same people who insist that people bought Priuses to be visible, instead of understanding that _it_ was visible so people knew about it, and it also combined low fuel use, reliability, practicality, value and technology so people bought it. Prius sales have dropped because gas prices dropped, and other vehicles meet their wants and needs better. So much for conspicuous consumption.

Plenty of people are not shallow and image-obsessed.

Figure $45,000 for maxed out Kona EV (heads up display, heated steering wheel, blind side indicators which Tesla doesn’t have) which will still get the Federal $7,500 credit. Plus the 6″ ground clearance and FWD makes it a great snowmobile. Hatchback makes it an excellent family and or activity vehicle.

Price and utility the Kona is what EV’s will look like. That the Kona is already a high mpg CUV means it gets the “regular car” buyers.

So easy for Hyundai to add some 10hp electric motors to rear wheels to give it a low speed AWD capability which is really what you need in snow and ice weather. Once the car is moving the FWD works great in the snow and ice. Have to figure that would be next step for Kona in 2020.

It’s going to sell out in the US. Question is how many will they ship to US?

Too funny. Calling a car with production plans of less than 1/10 of the Model 3, mainstream.

And saying it gives more bang for the buck than the Model 3, when the market is saying the exact opposite.

Certainly if Hyundai were fully committed to BEVs they would discontinue ICE Kona and ramp up EV Kona…. but they won’t.

Instead they will drag out the transition from ICE and have a bet each way with fuel cells as well. A messy looking strategy.

Even funnier is calling a ipad on wheels a ‘mainstream’ vehicle. The model 3 is a danger to the driver. Autonomous driving tech was elons way of selling you the undercoating.

It’s like they took a 2016 article about the Bolt and replaced the word “Bolt” with “Kona”, and updated the specs a bit.

Once again for the audience in the back, the Kona is not an SUV.

Yes, I don’t know why the article calls it that. Everybody else (except Hyundai, who don’t count (-; ) calls it what it is, a CUV.

Being in a non-CARB state, I guess Ill never know.

Instead of carping about it every single article, why don’t you either:
(1) Buy your desired EV in another state, and register it in PA;
(2) Move to a more EV-hospitable state

And that other state (for buying or living in) doesn’t have to be CA either; 3 of the CARB ZEV mandate states actually border your own: NY, NJ and MD.

Your whining is getting really tiresome.

I can’t fathom that a $30k+ car is now considered affordable. I can only dream of buying a car that horribly expensive. With a 5 year loan, your looking at ~$600/m payments! That’s like buying a brand new oven, or dishwasher every single month for 5 years!! The automotive world has gone completely insane with prices.

The average price of a private in the US is a bit above $36K, and the median’s fairly close. You’re apparently living in the past.

I can’t wait until I can (hopefully) get my hands on one of these. I don’t want a sports car (sorry Tesla). I really want a small SUV, but this small CUV is going to have to hold me over. I’ve been in the gas model, and I liked it. I’ve driven a Bolt, and although it was nice, it wasn’t nice enough for me to want to spend $40k on it. I’m holding onto my older Volt for now, but I’m really itching to get into an all electric this year. This Kona is the closest to what I’m looking for.

I have no problem with EV’s. I grew up with WWII parents bringing home MG’s and Austin Healey’s. I fell in love with small cars, especially 2-seater ragtops. My first car was a Morris Minor, then to a ’62 Beetle, then to a ’72 VW Type III. I went through buying gas, when you could find it, on odd-even license plate days during the 70’s. If my car could run on camel piss I would be down with it. I am not opposed to anything other than internal combustion, as many of my friends are. I would like my next car to be an EV. Yes, I will keep my “conventional” SUV for long trips but as it stands an EV will work well for my day-to-day business needs. And I do appreciate the”normal” looks of the Kona. Why they had/have to make hybrids and EV’s stand out like some sci-fi badge of honor I never understood.