Hyundai Kona Electric Vs Kia Niro EV, The Autobahn Efficiency Edition


Korean cousins face off in Germany (with subtitles)

The Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV (Kia e-Niro in some markets) are two of the most exciting electric vehicles about to hit dealerships in the United States. Potential customers across the country are weighing the two, wondering which might best suit their needs. One metric by which to judge them is efficiency. The video (press CC for English subtitles) above helps us out here, pitting the two all-electric crossovers against each other as they travel more than 400 km (249 miles) on a stretch of the Autobahn highway in Germany.

The two, of course, are corporate cousins but their bond goes deeper than that. They are built on the same platform, albeit with battery cells from different suppliers — the Hyundai holds cells from LG Chem, while the Kia keeps rolling with help from SK Innovation. Regardless of this supplier deviation, though, they both boast a 64 kWh battery. So, how do these similarities and differences play out in the real world?

To set the stage, the vehicles are charged to 97 and 98 percent and are wearing winter tires of the same size. With a bit of distance between them, so neither enjoys the advantage of a slipstream, they use cruise control to maintain a steady 120-kph (75-mile per hour) pace. When they stop for a charge, the results are not what we expect.

The Niro EV appears to be in the lead, having averaged 22.8 kWh/100 km (36.7 kWh/100 miles). The Hyundai Kona Electric, which is a slightly smaller vehicle, counterintuitively saw 23.4 kWh/100 km (37.7 kWh/100 miles) over the same distance. If those consumption figures seem high, we must also take into account the temperature over the journey dipped as low as -7 C (19.4 F).

Interestingly, the charging speeds also show some deviation. When first plugged, the Hyundai indicates it’s accepting power at a rate of 52 kW and will take 53 minutes to reach 80 percent. The Kia, meanwhile, is taking on electricity at 52 kW and with its slightly less-depleted battery will take only 46 minutes to reach 80 percent.

When all was said and done, the Kia Niro EV emerged the victor in this particular contest with a 4-percent edge over the 429 km (267 miles). A surprising result, considering the EPA rates the Kona Electric as the more efficient of the two.

We now look forward to more tests, but in the meantime, if you have a theory for this seeming discrepancy, let us know in Comments.

Source: YouTube

Categories: Hyundai, Kia, Videos

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

28 Comments on "Hyundai Kona Electric Vs Kia Niro EV, The Autobahn Efficiency Edition"

newest oldest most voted

Climate control settings and / or cabin heading methods

You probably meant “heating” 😉
I also asked my self how that’s possible. And I was e.g. thinking about that the Kona has no heat pump in its lowest trim level (the E-Niro probably too). But no word about that in the text…


Both cars were set to the same temperature, according to the descriptions in the Video.

So for a 400+ Km Trip you need to charge two times although they drove slower then the recommended highway speed in germany which is 130km/h. And such a distance any ICE can do without a stop at higher speeds. These cars are for the city and not meant for long distance travel.

We should not compare EVs with ICEs on range and charging speed at the moment, which absolute in favour of an ICE. EVs need to be judged on their own merits, such as efficiency, acceleration, and emissions. These are strong points of an EV, not range and charging speed.

There are sections that are limited right down to 80km/h. The 130 recommendation is for stretches without a posted limit and good road conditions. Below freezing you probably will have a hard time convincing your insurance company that those were undoubtedly good road conditions.

120 km/h is slow on the Autobahn, I feel slow at less than 140. At 120 you are too slow for the left lane and too fast for the right one.

I’m bred and born in Germany. My preferred driving speed is somewhere around 160km/h. But don’t tell me what sort of speed is appropriate when. A limit of 120 is actually rather common.
Traction control really was a game changer to driving at speed in winter since single patches of ice aren’t necessarily fatal anymore. When I made my license those systems didn’t even exist. However, if you turn on the news or look at accident statistics in winter it is clear that cars can still spin out of control. If you think you can judge wether a road surface at -6°C is dry, covered in liquid salt water or actually frozen at 160km/h you are lying to yourself and simply have been lucky until now. Many haven’t.

You’re right about the speed; 120km/h is unusual. 130-140km/h is pretty normal in the autobahn, as well as in most other European countries. Sure, lots of people on the AB are going faster, but I’ve always got lots of company at about 130km/h. Plus there’s no warning for most speed limits in Germany, so if you’re going faster than about 140km/h you’re going to have trouble staying out of the friction brakes when a 120km/h limit pops up out of nowhere.

Hi, I am from Germany and I drive daily 50km to work and 50 back on the Autobahn. Even in summer 120-130 km/h is our driving speed and a lot of daily drivers are doing the same thing here. There are simple reasons for it 1. Efficience,better gas mileage therefore less money spend on fuel (If you drive the whole year, every Liter fuel saved counts) 2. Less stress (Higher Speeds simply cause too much stress and you can’t keep a constant speed which again ruins your gas mileage.

Obviously doing that 400KM only took 1 charging stop, looks like they could have done a total of 500KM before charging a second time. Not too bad considering the relatively high speeds (range tends to improve rather dramatically if you curb speed to ~100KM/H), some hilly terrain and winter conditions. Winter charging is a bit sluggish but overall fairly well usable beyond base range.

No, he’s right. Two charges. One for each car.


WOW. Do you enjoy immediately making yourself the most unpopular person in any room you walk into? Cause it kinda seems that way…

Which car was in the lead, despite being spaced far apart to avoid optimal slipstream?

Seems like both did very well, both within the likely margin of error of the testing methodology and natural variance between cars, tires, etc coming off the production line.

Spy 1: “Tell me when it is exactly 12 noon down to the nano-second, and we can synchronize our clocks!”

Spy 2: “I have a sun dial….”

As long as pricing is within $1K, I think Niro is the superior. Especially with potentially more range.

In other words: Range is ca. 260-270km at that speed (64kWh battery).
Sadly there’s no tow-bar available. And we made bad experiences with the authorized Kia dealer here which is also quite far away like Hyundai (more than Renault, Fiat, VW/Audi, …).


It would have been nice if a Model 3 would have been in that line up under the same winter conditions.

In the summer test the Model 3 achieved a lower consumption at 150 km/h and needed only 165 Wh/km at 120 km/h. But this was at +25 °C vs. -5 °C, so the consumption should be higher by at least 10 % only from the increased air resistance.

I’m more interested in the overall effect since the usable capacity changes as well as the discharge efficiency + energy for the various heaters.
Preferably the cars would be charged and left outside overnight unplugged.

Nice wheels on the Kona. Aftermarket?

These are the standard wheels

They look aftermarket to me, they are not aero and could be easily responsible for worse kona result.

You right, is not the standard wheels…..

Maybe the Kia Niro EV is more aerodynamic?

Planning to buy a new car and I’ve been researching Hyundai cars for the past month. And when ever I Google Hyundai I see another Hyundai caught on fire! Scary.

Maybe the speedometer deviation is the explanation for the efficiency differential. The Niro needs to be set at 123 km/h to follow the kona at 120 km/h. So we need to apply the same factor to the efficiency to be able to compare… so Niro efficiency = 123/120*22.8kwh/100km = 23.4 kwh/100 km, the exact same efficiency of the Kona!!