Plugged In: First U.S. Kona Electric Delivery, Hyundai EV Strategy


Compliance car? That, and other Kona topics are discussed.

Hyundai delivered the first Kona Electric in the United States last week, and the honor went to Dr. Donald Small, Director of Pediatric Oncology at The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

This was a long-anticipated moment for many in the US that have been patiently waiting for Kona Electric availability. While the extent of future availability of the EV is still a bit murky, the ceremonial first delivery offers hope that they will finally begin to show up at select dealerships.

We specify “select” dealerships because the Kona Electric will not be available nationwide. Hyundai, at least for the foreseeable future, will limit Kona Electric sales to the ten “ZEV states”, those being California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

To make matters worse, Hyundai had previously offered that customers that were not in one of the ZEV states could still order a Kona Electric, by going to their dealer and buying or leasing the vehicle sight unseen. If it was a “sold” unit, and the customer was obligated to take delivery, then the dealership would get the allocation.

However, when we recently reached out to Hyundai to confirm that they still intended to employ this strategy, this time we got a different answer:

Given the current demand for Kona Electric in California and other ZEV states, we aren’t able to support volume sales in all non-ZEV states at this time. In the near future, we do plan to offer Kona Electric in non-ZEV states that exhibit higher electric vehicle demand.”

So, we took the opportunity to discuss this topic a bit further, this time with Alex Guberman of E For Electric. I have agreed to participate in a new weekly segment on Alex’s site called “Plugged In with Tom Moloughney”, where I will discuss some of the biggest topics that occurred that week in the world of electric vehicles. We’ll look at the stories we covered here on InsideEVs that week, and which seemed to the most popular with our followers and dissect them a bit, in a 15 to 25-minute video.

This is the first installment of the new video series, so take a look and feel free to offer suggestions on what you’d like to see discussed in the future.

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30 Comments on "Plugged In: First U.S. Kona Electric Delivery, Hyundai EV Strategy"

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You’ve driven this and the BMW i3 REX.
Does the i3 ride/drive/handle better?
Would you switch for range, if you needed more range?
Would you switch for more range if you didn’t need more range.
After all the new i3’s have 150 miles of range every morning, ready to go.

-Hmmm, interior rear seat room issue.
That’s a dealbreaker for me, same issue with the Volt.
I need room for 4 adults minimum.

Bolt EV has more rear seat room than the Kona.

You want the Kia e-Niro then. 10cm more wheelbase, and most of that goes to the back seat legroom.

depends on your adults. Asians are generally smaller and shorter.

Moshe Vaknin - The Electric Israeli

My friend in NJ just got his Kona last week. I made this video with him yesterday.

Thanks for letting us know!!

Great review. Everyone’s needs are different. I love a hatchback and CUVs. In the first wave of adoption, I drove a Chevy Volt out of necessity. I was the classic Volt driver. My trips were 97% electric and 3% gas, while my miles were 70% electric and 30% gas. The reason for this classic formula was day to day was 100% electric, but 220-mile trips to the beach, mountains, with a couple of 275-mile trips just didn’t fit anything available in early 2012. Now I primarily drive an LR RWD Model 3. But it’s not just about the miles. The interviewer points out the need to haul equipment. I require the use of a full body truck about 3,000 miles per year. That just isn’t enough miles for me to justify being an early adopter like I was with the Volt and Model 3. My desire to purge all fossil fuel burning vehicles will push me to find a used EV or PHEV truck so that puts me at least five years out. The major point being that the formula is not just about the miles but about what we haul. I don’t know exactly what Tom hauls with his… Read more »

So watch out for the Cali Hyundai dealers with the 5k rip ontop of MSRP. CERRITOS. Bob Baker Hyundai sells at MSRP. Really, like anyone wants to be first that bad. Oh and that 46% residue. Imagine a lease with 5k down at the above figure rip included on full MSRP makes your Kona lease payment 781.00 a month. Bet they fly off the shelf!

46% residual is going to make CPO lease returns a steal!

The Kona EV rolled off the truck at my local dealership yesterday (Inland Empire, CA). It was an Ultimate trim, with MSRP around $46K. There was a $5K dealer markup on it, plus about $900 in dealer-installed options (LOL). But the bottom line for me is that the rear seats are too tight for my relatively tall family. I am waiting for the Niro EV as those extra inches in the cabin make all the difference.

To say with Kona coming to the U.S. that it is the “global launch” Well my friend the U.S is not the “globe”. The Kona EV has been sold for a couple of years now and it is more accurate to say that it is the American launch only.

The Kona EV has not been sold for a few years now. It has just come to market globally. It was first sold in Korea less than a year ago and now the global rollout has more recently begun.

Oh, that should be a good collaboration.

Tom – you mentioned ventilated seats in the Kona EV when comparing it to the Niro EV, I’m not sure if you were alluding to this option being unavailable in the Niro EV, but it appears that the Kia Niro EV top trim will have ventilated front seats standard.


At about 19:00, Tom talks about any EV that sell for any compliance credit is a compliance car. That make EVERY EV compliance cars, Tesla being the biggest compliance car company. This is just silly. Compliance cars are those only sold in compliance states and nowhere else, because (surprise) they exist for compliance purpose. Making degree of compliance car categories is nonsense, because EVERY EV then become compliance cars.

Everyone has different definitions.
For one all evs are not compliance cars as you say, since by definition a company that makes only evs has nothing to comply with in that all their cars are zero emissions.
A car can have aspects of compliance such as low volume, and only sold in zev states. If it walks and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, to me.
It’s a compliance car.

That’s not what he said. He said that any model that exists merely for compliance purposes is a compliance car.

The Leaf is not a compliance car, since credits do not seem to have been the primary consideration in creating it. The Kona or the Bolt are compliance cars, since clearly they were created primarily for compliance purposes.

Has there been a delivery in CA?
I am pretty sure I saw on in Vancouver.

Yep, got the first one in OC at Russ westbrook GG

Spotted one being driven around St John’s, Newfoundland ( the most easterly point in North America)