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When it comes to affordable electric cars, Japan is an absolute leader in the industry, but Korean industry giant Hyundai is ready to join the party with their all-new zero-emission market entry. The 2019 Kona Electric that’s just about to hit the European market looks like an ideal city car for the new generation of ecologically aware car owners. It’s an electric crossover with a flowing, straightforward and simplistic design that doesn’t scream ‘zero emission car’, and it offers plenty of boot space for your groceries. The base price for Ireland will start at €35,995 which incudes the VRT Exemption, Residual VRT and SEAI grant of €5,000. 

The Looks

When it comes to looks, the electric Kona looks a lot like its fossil fuel powered counterpart, but with a few important tweaks. While the main silhouette remained unchanged, the Kona Electric has a reworked front end due to a completely different powertrain. Since there’s no need for engine cooling, the gaping radiator grille has been replaced by a body coloured panel. As a result, the Kona Electric has a less aggressive presence and a stylish decorative pattern on the front end as its main design cue. Due to changed front end, the electric variant of the Kona looks tamer, but still retains a dose of aggressiveness that’s mirrored in the design of front and rear light formations. Moreover, the trademark floating roof looks a bit different as well, with less contrast than on the regular Kona.

The interior of the Kona Electric caters technologically aware buyers with 7” (17.7cm) touchscreen as standard. Baseline equipment doesn’t end there, because all Kona Electric cars have heated front seats, Bluetooth, USB, Apple and Android connectivity. This Hyundai will be offered in three trim levels called SE, Limited and Ultimate. The top of the line Kona Electric Ultimate offers 8” (20.3cm) screen, wireless phone charging, premium audio, leather upholstery, parking sensors, sunroof and more. With all that in mind, the Kona Electric will be a stylish proposition in a highly competitive market segment. But, its captivating looks aren’t the only quality of this car.

The Performance

What’s the most impressive about Hyundai’s electric crossover is its performance. As Hyundai’s pioneering effort in the zero-emission city car class, the Kona Electric had to offer something extra compared to the competition. So, the Kona Electric is powered by a 64-kwh lithium-ion battery with 201 horsepower sent to the front wheels. Thanks to this powertrain, the Kona has a range of up to 482 kilometres and can reach 100kmh in just under 7.6 seconds. Given that its main competitor Nissan Leaf offers 378 kilometres with a 40 kwh battery and 147 horsepower on disposal, the Kona aims to position itself as a no-brainer proposition in this market segment. It takes slighly over an hour to recharge the Kona on a 100kW DC charger to a full charge, approximately two hours on 50kW DC charger, and close to ten hours to recharge it on a standard charging station on 7.2kW DC.

The Practicality

Practicality wise, the Kona Electric is the best proposition in its class. In order to maximize storage space in the boot, Hyundai engineers have moved the batteries underneath the floor, so the Kona Electric has 543 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, and 1296.9 litres when the rear seats go down. When you compare that to 435 litres of boot space available in the Leaf, the Kona Electric proves to be a better haulier with more usable space for your daily needs. Plenty of boot space is one of Kona’s main selling points, as highly practical zero-emission cars are definitely the thing of today and the future.

Clever engineering of the Kona Electric also affects drive quality in a positive way. Having the batteries closer to the ground, the Kona Electric has a low centre of gravity, which makes it firm and stable while on the road. Just like in the petrol powered Kona, there’s four wheel independent suspension to guarantee a comfortable ride for up to five occupants. Safety is also addressed in various ways, so every Kona Electric is equipped with automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitors. Today, these two features are essential for safe urban driving, and it’s nice that Hyundai decided to incorporate them as a part of standard equipment in an effort to conquer this competitive market segment.

The Final Thoughts

Being stylish, comfortable, and well-equipped in the standard variant, the Kona Electric will undoubtedly position itself on top of the most desirable electric cars on the market. When you add plenty of cargo space, more than adequate power and a considerable range of its battery, this zero emission Hyundai will be a car we’ll love seeing on the streets in very near future.


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