Hyundai Kona Electric Car: Is It Really Worth The EV Hype?

Autowagons Review: Hyundai Kona Electric

Most countries have realized that electric vehicles are an important solution to the environmental crisis that we are going through as a planet. The best of estimates say we have twelve years to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions and save the Earth.

Most developed countries have gone into a mad rage to fix their environment. But the challenge for the rest of the world is that we still need to build bridges and roads, provide employment to our people, and all those other things which require a lot of fuel and create a lot of emissions. And that’s why our government has imposed massive duties on completely built imports, including electric vehicles.

As a buyer, you’ll only pay 5% tax if you buy an EV, compared with the 28% on a regular vehicle. But the incentive for the manufacturer is inconspicuous. All of this has been done to allow Indian manufacturers to sell their own zero-emission vehicles, and they have – the Mahindra E-Verito, for example. But not a single person has ever said to the sales associate,

“I would like your smallest saloon, with 40 horsepower, for the same price as one of your full-size SUVs.”

EVs are a lot more expensive to make than petrol cars. In a market like ours, cheap electric cars will never exist. The most affordable EVs will all be two-wheelers. But we will never buy EVs if they are no better than petrol cars. For the simple reason that it’ll be a few decades before the price versus range graph of electric cars matches that of petrol cars.

That’s where the Hyundai Kona shines. Because this is a comfortable, quiet, calm and adequately powerful SUV – all that anyone would want for what they spend. This isn’t really an SUV – it’s a crossover. I like that because it’s better to be a crossover than a fake SUV without the off-roading hardware. If ‘road presence’ is your concern – you want people to know how much you spent buying a car – you won’t be disappointed. While the Kona isn’t radically styled like a Tesla, in our Tesla-free, Dzire-laden cities, it looks like a spaceship. It really looks like an i-20 from 2040.

On the inside, it looks just like a normal car. This is again a hit from Hyundai – most people who can afford the Hyundai Kona Electric will be older and will appreciate that the controls are in the same place as their previous car. It is loaded with features – a 10-way powered driver’s seat, heated wing mirrors and even wireless charging on top of every single feature that you could find on an Elantra.

Where the Hyundai Kona Electric misses is in rear-seat space. This is going to be a divisive factor among buyers, of whom many would prefer to be driven around. While legroom is no worse than an Audi Q3, you sit legs-up, because the batteries are under the floor. The seats themselves are comfortable, and head-room isn’t tight. Shorter people would be just fine back here. But the Hyundai Kona Electric is still a bit of a driver’s car.

This isn’t the one you buy and hand over to your chauffeur forever. Because the front seats are very spacious, comfortable, and have a lot of bolstering. They are heated and cooled, too. The quality of the plastics and choice of materials is as good as any German car.

Hyundai Kona Electric’s power is rated at 136hp, which is no worse than a 1.4-liter Skoda Superb. But 395Nm is more torque than many of your neighbors.

The point of the Hyundai Kona Electric is to make electric cars acceptable and accessible. Locally sourced components have helped bring down prices to around 23 lakhs, which still prices it far above what the average Indian car buyer can afford. But this is what an EV is supposed to be – a reminder of all that has been done, and all that needs to be done in this world.

Spec Sheet

Max Power (HP)134
Maximum torque (Nm) 395
Battery capacity (kWh)39.2
Charging time portable 2.8kW (hours)19
Charging time 7.2kW AC (hours) 6.2
Fast charging time 0-80% (min)60
Claimed range (km)452
Length (mm) 4180
Width (mm)1800
Height (mm) 1570
Wheelbase (mm)2600
Boot Space (L)332
Front SuspensionMcpherson Struts
Rear SuspensionMulti-Link
Tire Size215/15 R17
Front BrakeDisk
Rear BrakeDisk

Like our review of the Hyundai Kona Electric? Check out our DIY section if you are interested in do it yourself car projects.

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