Let's get the most salient details out of the way: The Hyundai Kona Electric will show up in California in the fourth quarter of 2018, and other "ZEV-focused states" will soon follow. We'd expect to see the Kona EV in dealerships along the East and West Coasts and in New England in early 2019. It'll have an estimated range of 250 miles from its 64 kWh lithium ion battery pack. Its electric motor sends 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels.

Other markets get a lower-cost, entry-level model with less power and range, but the U.S. will only get this lone range-topping version.

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips


Those specs put the U.S. Kona EV squarely into the thick of the burgeoning electric vehicle market, where it will compete with cars like the Chevy Bolt EV (238-mile range) and Tesla Model 3 (up to 220-mile range). The Nissan Leaf has a much lower 151-mile range. The Kona EV can be fully charged at Level 2 in in a little less than 10 hours. DC fast charging capability is standard on the Kona, and it can go from zero to an 80 percent charge in less than an hour.

Cargo capacity stands at 19.2 cubic-feet, which is identical to the gas-powered Kona. The EV also benefits from a standard multi-link rear suspension setup in place of the standard gas-powered, front-wheel-drive model's low-tech torsion beam system. Normal, Eco, and Sport drive modes alter the steering feel and powertrain programming to either emphasize acceleration and performance or maximize range.

Hyundai didn't make sweeping changes to the look of the standard Kona in its conversion into an electric vehicle. The helmet-shaped grille of the standard car gives way to a more aerodynamically efficient design with lightly debossed slashes and dashes. The door covering the charging port is also housed in the grille. Split lighting units remain front and rear, and thick plastic cladding lends a utilitarian look to the lifted hatchback profile. It doesn't scream 'electric vehicle' like the Toyota Prius or Hyundai's own Ionic, but differs sufficiently from the gas-powered Kona to make it easy to spot on the road.

The rest of the Kona EV package is well-sorted for daily driving duties. A full suite of active and passive safety systems come standard as part of the Hyundai Smart Sense package, including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, blind-spot warning, and lane-keeping assist. A large center touchscreen infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Qi wireless charging is optional, and Hyundai's Blue Link app is included for three years.

We'll have to wait a bit longer for full pricing information, but as long as it's in line with the Chevy Bolt, the Kona Electric looks to be a serious contender in the EV marketplace.

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