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Hyundai Kona Electric: Meet the all-electric SUV with a 300-mile range

The Hyundai Kona Electric has been unveiled. Having been given a sneaky preview, we can now bring you (almost) everything you need to know about the all-electric compact SUV, including the battery capacity, performance, range, dimensions, practicality and technologies.

Rather than invite motoring journalists and influencers to what is essentially a booze-up with a curtain being pulled off a highly shiny car, Hyundai decided to reveal the Kona Electric as part of a digital reveal.

Fortunately for us, we were given access to the details a few days before, which meant there was less danger of acquiring a hangover and more time to investigate exactly what makes this particular electric car tick.

For the uninitiated, the Hyundai Kona ─ already available with a 1.0-litre or a 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol engine ─ is a compact crossover, which means it is small and rides higher than a hatchback or estate. Unlike its sister car, the Kia Stonic, that funky, extrovert exterior is underpinned by a new platform.

Hyundai Kona Electric: How is it different to the standard Kona?

Hyundai Kona Electric charging station

Not that different, generally speaking. The Kona Electric shares the same exterior design except for the closed grill also seen on the latest Teslas. Not only does this hint at the lack of an engine, it helps reduce aerodynamic drag.

Then there is the addition of LED daytime running lights atop LED headlights, which provide greater visibility than your typical lightbulb, a two-tone roof and a choice of seven exterior paint jobs.

Just like in the Hyundai Ioniq (review here), which can also be had as an all-electric, the Kona Electric has a unique feature that lets you control the level of regenerative braking that occurs when you take your foot off the accelerator. When using the paddle controls behind the steering wheel, there is rarely any need to touch the brake pedal. Unless you like to tailgate.

Apart from that, the Kona Electric shares the same 4,180mm length, 1,800mm width, 1,570mm height and 2,600mm wheelbase. Boot space is 332 litres, which is 28 litres fewer than the standard Kona. Take out the charging cables, however, and you can have 373 litres.

Hyundai Kona Electric: What about the electric stuff?

Hyundai Kona Electric back end

You will be able to buy the Hyundai Kona Electric in two versions. The ‘short range’ version has a battery capacity of 39.2kWh and will be cheaper, although an exact price is still to be confirmed.

Power output is 133bhp, 0-62mph takes 9.3 seconds and the top speed is 104mph. Torque comes in at 291lb/ft (395Nm) ─ almost 2.3 times more than the Kona’s 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol.

The second model, meanwhile, is the long-ranger. Here you get a 64kWh battery and 201bhp, the latter of which brings 0-62mph down to a rather spritely 7.6 seconds. Torque remains the same plentiful amount.

Hyundai Kona Electric: Just tell us the bloody range

Hyundai Kona Electric side profile

Alright, alright, no need to get shirty. The short-range Hyundai Kona Electric has a WLTP (more on that in a second) range of up to 186 miles, 80 per cent of which can be charged in 54 minutes if using a fast 100kW charger. Or 9 hours and 40 minutes if the 7.2kW on-board charger is given AC current.

In its long range form, the Kona Electric has a WLTP range of 292 miles at peak. Neither model outputs any CO2 locally, which is good for your lungs and those of anyone around you, but the manufacturing process and how you source your power will have a bearing on overall eco-friendliness.

In case you are wondering where the charging port lives, it can be found at the front of the car near the Hyundai logo. So, yes, you can lazily drive into a space forwards and not have to stretch the cable.

Hyundai Kona Electric interior

WLTP is short for the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure and is basically the new EU efficiency rating system for petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid cars. It incorporates real-world testing, making it harder for manufacturers to ensure their cars look good ─ an issue with the dated New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

Electric cars can see their range drop in cold weather and other factors will affect the range. This includes enjoying the copious amounts of torque every time you pull away from the traffic lights.

Hyundai Kona Electric: What about gadgets and gizmos?

Hyundai Kona Electric dashboard

For starters, you can use the interior Qi inductive charging pad to give your phone battery extra juice (at the expense of the car’s obviously) and connect up using either Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB or an AUX cable. Keeping your eyes on the road ahead will be easy, thanks to the head-up display.

Then there is the Krell sound system, which should make your music sound better and louder. For those who really care about audio specifics, you get two 20mm tweeters, four 160mm woofers, one 100mm centre speaker and a 200mm subwoofer, all powered by an eight-channel amplifier that outputs 45w per channel.

Last but not least are various safety systems, including Smart Adaptive Speed Control with stop and go functionality (so it will work in busy traffic scenarios) and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection that aims to minimise or prevent a collision at speeds over 8kmh.

Hyundai Kona Electric: When can I buy and what will it cost?

Hyundai Kona Electric cup holders

Apart from knowing the Kona Electric short range will be cheaper than the long range, Hyundai is keeping specifics quiet for now and likely will do until the European drive event or the Geneva Motor Show.

A standard Kona starts from £16,195 and you can bet the electric version will be considerably more pricey. Somewhere around the Ioniq’s £24,995 seems likely.

As for the pricier long range Electric Kona, we would hope it keeps under £30,000 but then the 64kWh battery capacity puts the range way beyond that of its competitors (BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and VW E-Golf) with exception to the pricier Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X.

We have approached Hyundai for availability details, we will update the article accordingly when we hear back.

Update: Hyundai says the Kona Electric will go on sale in the summer, most likely ‘around’ June.

Hyundai Kona technical specs

Hyundai Kona Electric back end
  • Dimensions: 4,180mm (L), 1,800mm (W), 1,570mm (H)
  • Battery capacity: 39.2kWh (short range) / 64kWh (long range)
  • Torque figure: 291lb/ft (395Nm)
  • Top speed: 104mph
  • 0-62mph: 9.3 seconds / 7.6 seconds
  • Range (WLTP): 186 miles / 292 miles
  • CO2 emissions (locally): 0g/km
  • Boot space: 332 litres
  • Price: TBC