The new Hyundai Kona electric SUV

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The problem with being one of the first to adopt any new technology is that your state of the art widget, gizmo or electric vehicle, does not long remain the state of the art.

If, for example, you bought a new Ioniq – the first Hyundai EV, launched last August last year – confident that your investment in the electrified motoring future would bear fruit, I have bad news.

The 2019 Ioniq, due in the third quarter, has a battery with a storage capacity of 36% higher, increasing the required range from 230 km to 294 km.

Therefore, the 2018 Ioniq EV will last 12 months before it is technologically obsolete. This means an accelerated depreciation, which would be expensive for owners at the time of trade-in.

It's a healthy lesson if you're thinking of diving into the new world of electric vehicles. They will become much more efficient and less expensive in the near future.

Today you pay a lot of money for what could become yesterday's technology as soon as tomorrow.

Value

The Kona electric is Hyundai's first battery-powered SUV. Prices start at $ 58,500 for the launch edition. The Elite rank is $ 59.990 and Highlander, which we are testing here, is $ 64.490.

The 2.0-liter Kona Elite petrol engine starts at $ 29,500 and the Highlander costs $ 35,500. So you're paying up to twice the price to go to EV.

Kona's 150 kW electric motor drives the front wheels. Its 64kWh lithium-ion battery guarantees a range of up to 449 km.

Hyundai offers a capacity recharge time between zero and 80% ranging from 54 minutes to a rapid 100 kW public charger at 9 hours and 35 minutes when connected to an optional home charger ($ 2000 installed).

The use of a 10 amp household power point will take up to 28 hours.

Maintenance is economical because an EV has few moving parts and no liquid, apart from the battery coolant. The electric Kona costs $ 165 every 12 months / 15,000 km (whichever comes first), while the 2.0-liter Kona petrol costs $ 264- $ 364 per service.

The battery warranty is eight years / 160,000 km.

Comfort

Smaller than it looks, the Kona has a high SUV sitting position and clear vision to the outside. The digital information tools and plenty of memory at hand on a two-level center console make life easy and comfortable for the driver, but the space for the rear legs and boot space are tight.

Hard plastic blades make the cabin look more than $ 25K of $ 60K. Even the leather upholstery looks like vinyl.

Safety

Get the jobs, including adaptive cruise with stop-go traffic and autonomous emergency braking forward and backward.

Guide

The Kona petrol will not see which way the EV went. Press the accelerator in Sport mode and the Hyundai immediately lifts forward with a 395 Nm of ultra-smooth muscle torque.

The Eco mode still offers a similar grunt to the diesel, without the noise, the delay of the turbo or the carcinogenic emissions. All you hear in the Kona is a faint hum of the electric motor.

The paddles allow regulating the level of regenerative braking. The maximum provides a strong delay when the right foot is raised, to the extent that you can almost leave the brake pedal alone. It also puts more charge in the battery than the minimum setting.

Hydraulic brakes, although powerful, are also extremely abrupt.

Manageability is cumbersome: Nexen tires have no grip, the steering is lifeless and the suspension does not control body movement as it should. This also makes a slightly nautical ride, although comfort and compliance are quite good.

The indications of the EV range of the manufacturers are as rubbery as the data on fuel consumption. In contrast to internal combustion vehicles, however, the chances of matching the declared numbers of an EV are better in the city than on the open road.

You can reach more than 400 km of driving time in the city, where you are traveling in traffic, often stopped, with brakes or with the accelerator, which help to maximize the range, especially in Eco mode.

Open road speeds dramatically increase energy consumption because the right foot is almost always in motion and, unless you are going downhill, the battery has no regenerative charge.

On a main road, 243 km of autonomy were visible when we left and our test car traveled 98 km. At that distance, the remaining battery life had dropped to 120 km, so in practice the Kona lost a kilometer of range every four kilometers traveled.

The travel computer continues to recalculate the distance while you travel but, as in any EV, if you make the mistake of believing that the range you have when you leave is the distance you can travel before it is time to connect, you may end up stranded.

They don't call it anguish at all.

The heart says

Climate change is real and we must act now. I'm going to do something about it.

The head says

I live, work and drive in the city, so 400km-plus is more than enough for my purposes. I will buy the optional wall charger so that I can squeeze the battery overnight at off-peak rates.

Verdict 3/5

If you can afford to drop $ 65,000 on a symbol of your commitment to the planet, move on. In the coming years, you will be able to do it for much less money.

alternatives

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV from $ 45,990

This is a gasoline-electric hybrid. In the city, you only have 55 km of battery life with only the battery. With the 2.0-liter engine that contributes, you can drive up to 880 km, with an average of less than 5L / 100 km. The best of both worlds.

Nissan Leaf from $ 49.990

On sale here in August, the second-generation Leaf, the world's best-selling EV, has a 40kWh battery that provides up to 270km of declared range. It is a hatchback but the interior space is larger than the Kona.

Vitali Hyundai Kona Electric

Price: $ 64.490 (very expensive)

Warranty / Service: 5 years (average); $ 825 for 5 years (cheap)

Engine: electric motor 150kW / 395 Nm; 64kWh battery; (Abundance)

Safety: 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise, rear cross traffic warning, lane keeping (excellent)

Range: Required range of 449 km (above average)

Tires: Repair kit (not good)

Start: 332L (small)

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