Crucial facts about Hyundai electric SUV
THE South Korean brand's new zero emissions car is the new kid on the block and it has some surprising stats that will shock you.
1. It goes a long way between charges
Range anxiety. It's a roadblock for electric cars, along with price and infrastructure. But really, how often do you travel more than 449km in a single trip? The Kona Electric's hefty 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery is key to this distance. It's a "real world" figure too. That 450-odd kilometre pure electric range - there's no back up petrol or diesel engine, remember - was just about achievable on my test through town and country. But just as in a fossil fuel car, crank the aircon up on a 40-degree day and range drops.
2. Charge times may vary massively
Find a 100kW DC fast charging station via the car's multimedia touchscreen and the Kona Electric goes from empty to 80 per cent charge in 54 minutes. That lunch stop buys you about 360km of range. Ultra-rapid 350kW EV charging stations promising 400km range in 15 minutes aren't relevant here: the Kona can only handle a 100kW charger. More common 50kW public chargers do the 80 per cent trick in 75 minutes, while you get full charge in 9 hours and 35 minutes if you install a $1950 Hyundai AC charger in your garage. Normal household socket? Try 28 hours.
3. Saving the planet isn't cheap
At $63,600 drive-away, the Kona Electric Launch Edition - the cheapest in the range - is roughly twice the on-road price of a mid-range petrol-engined Kona 2WD Elite. That $30K difference buys roughly 300,000km worth of petrol, if we're being crude. Included are 17-inch alloys, leather seats, climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and seven-inch screen. The Elite ($65,160 drive-away) has an eight-inch screen, satnav and superior audio and the flagship Highlanders ($69,900 drive-away) add LED lights, heated power seats, wireless phone charging, glass sunroof and head-up display. other wins: five-year Hyundai warranty, eight-year battery warranty and bargain $165 annual services.
4. Audi price but not Audi cabin
Big batteries are expensive. Very expensive. You may part with $60K-plus+ for the Kona Electric but fossil fuel-gorging small SUVs that cost about the same - Jaguar E-Pace, Audi Q3 Sport, Lexus UX250 Hybrid, Mercedes GLA 250 - give the prestige leathery luxury experience. The Hyundai has a pleasing enough cabin but plastics for the dash top and doors are hard and such simple things as rear air vents are absent.
5. It's actually brilliant to drive
Squeeze the throttle and you instantly enjoy 395Nm of torque - same as a BMW 330i - raising a huge smile as you near-silently shoot from rest to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds. In the city the battery recharges as you lift off the accelerator and as you slow down, you can control the amount of this regenerative braking via steering wheel paddles. Within 10 minutes your brain has readjusted … rarely do you need the brake pedal. On the open road it's comfy, nicely balanced and even a bit fun. Apart from the lack of engine noise, it feels like a perfectly normal car. An impressive achievement.