The electric car debate is going on and on but the difference is that there is excitement in the market for electric cars. It is an altogether different matter whether they would sell or not. However testing the market and creating goodwill is something carmakers are doing with their electric car launch plans. It would not make money for carmakers and neither they would sell in big numbers but that is not the objective here.
Hyundai has been the first to launch a proper EV and that is the Kona. The standard Kona is not on sale instead the electric version is here. This is bought via CKD route to keep prices in check. So how good is the Kona EV? Read more
The Kona looks futuristic and aggressive. It certainly stands out in the crowd of other cars. The Kona sold here is the electric one and that is different from the standard Kona. It sports different 17inch alloys. But the talking point is the front. The slim LED headlamps and the equally slim grille looks fantastic. You will also like the neatly done surfacing below and the sharp fog lamps. It is cool. The rest of the Kona is simple but looks more like a crossover than an SUV but it does get cladding, roof rails and all the usual elements. In size wise it is shorter than the Creta but wider.
Interiors and features
Now the Kona for a Rs 25 lakh car delivers on the quality if not the ambience. The interior is all black with a soft touch dash. Yes some of the bits are shared with other Hyundai cars but quality is very good however at first glance the cabin may not seem Rs 25 lakh worth. There is a lot silver/ metal finish to mix with the black.
The talking point is the tech. You get a futuristic 7inch digital display while there is of course an 8inch touchscreen. The gear selector is unique and cool as well. Just like all Hyundai cars the touchscreen is nice to use while the graphics and icons are the same as other Hyundai’s.
In terms of features you get a lot. Perhaps, more than a comparable Rs 25 lakh car. Other than the basics covered you get a long equipment list like electric sunroof, front heated/cooled ventilated seats plus powered seats which are 10 way adjustable, electric parking brake, paddle shifters, wireless charging etc.
However there are no rear ac vents and the rear seat is clearly short on space even when compared to a Creta. The boot is decent though.
Let us now talk about the engine. Here the Kona EV has 134 bhp electric motor powered by a high-voltage 39.2 kWh advanced lithium-ion polymer battery. Being electric it makes 395Nm of torque at the start too.
Start the car and there is silence. That silence stays. It is fantastic the way the Kona EV is so silent and relaxing. It is smooth too. Plus also quite quick. The torque comes from the start and that overtaking is very easy. 0-100 km/h takes less than 10 seconds.
There are four driving modes that alter the characteristics. If you are short on range you can select Eco Plus which limits the top speed and air con to maximise range. Similarly Sport puts in the max power and it is the fastest here. It has regenerative braking too plus the paddle shifters in the Kona are used to handle that. Yes, the paddle shifters are not for performance but handling the regen brakes. You can stop via using the paddle too!
In terms of charging and range, here the ARAI range for a full charge is an impressive 452 km. Now that is an ARAI range thus in real world expect it to be actually more like 200 plus. Of course it depends on how you drive too and the traffic conditions.
Charging and costs
Charging has been looked at by Hyundai as you get a two Chargers along with the car – a portable charger and an AC Wall Box Charger. The portable charger can be plugged into any normal 3 Pin 15 Amp socket and charge the vehicle. Enough for a 50km charge under 3 hours. The AC Wall Box charger (7.2 kW) can charge the vehicle within 1 hour for running 50Kms. When you buy, dealers will give you a demo and install it at your home.
Plus the select Hyundai dealers selling the Kona EV would have a 7.2 kW AC Charger. Plus in select cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai) a Kona electric fleet is fitted with power converter and will provide emergency charging support to the customers.
In terms of peace of mind, servicing a Kona would be under Rs 8k. Plus a Warranty for 3 Years and unlimited Kilometres, along with a Warranty for 8 Years and upto 160,000 Kms for its Battery.
Hyundai have priced it at Rs 25.3 lakh. Now for the price the Kona seems expensive especially when other bigger SUVs are available for far less money. But that is missing the point. For an electric car the Kona is good value.
It is the first proper electric car and Hyundai have done their best here. The Kona has good enough range, charging looked at and has good features too. Plus peace of mind is there as this is a Hyundai. As a self driven electric offering for the city, the Kona is an interesting option but will it enough to kick start the EV revolution? Time will tell.
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You may check the full photo gallery of Hyundai KONA Electric SUV below: