The Hyundai Kona Electric is the car the entire world has been waiting for. The cute, sporty, all-electric crossover ticks all the boxes for anyone who wants to drive an EV. It doesn’t just hit the sweet spot, it is the sweet spot in the current automotive market. The fact that it is super efficient as well is just the icing on the cake.
To review, the Kona Electric has a 64 kWh battery and 258 miles of range according to the EPA. It is also loaded with high-tech goodies, including an innovative regenerative braking system that maximizes energy recovery when the traffic-aware cruise control is active. Only the Tesla Model 3 has created as much buzz in countries around the world as the Kona Electric. Contributing author Sebastian Blanco drove a Hyundai Kona Electric in Europe for CleanTechnica earlier this year and raved about it.
We were already told the Kona Electric would go on sale in the US in early 2019. The only thing we didn’t know was the price in America. Now, Hyundai has given up that last piece of information. Starting price in the US is $36,450. Let’s think about that for a minute. What other electric cars are available in America with a 258 mile range, every electronic bell and whistle you can imagine, and a starting price under $37,000? If you said “None,” go to the head of the class.
The Tesla Model 3 is, of course, the very definition of a compelling electric car, but if you want one for $36,450, you’re out of luck — at least for a while. And the Model 3 is a sedan in a world that is crazy about crossovers and SUVs. The Chevy Bolt is similar but it doesn’t have the technical geewizardry the Kona offers. It also doesn’t have as much range or high power charging standard. It starts at $37,495 but is not as well equipped as the Kona at that price. Its appearance is OK, but the Kona knocks the ball out of the park in the looks department.
A Nissan LEAF comparably equipped lists for $36,200, but only has 150 miles of range. A new long-range LEAF is coming sometime next year but advance reports suggest it will cost $5,500 more than the 40 kWh version available today.
Availability of the Kona Electric may be an issue for a while. Whether Hyundai is having trouble getting its hands on enough battery packs to meet demand or whether it is just taking a cautious marketing approach, you may have to be patient if you want one in your driveway. From everything we know, the wait will be more than worth it.
Does this latest news tell us anything about what the price of the Kia Niro Electric will be in America? Not officially, but that car starts at $3,500 more than the Kona’s base price. Add that to the $36,450 price for the Kona Electric and there is a good chance Kia will find a way to keep the base price of the Niro Electric under $40,000.
The Hyundai/Kia twins are quietly doing what Elon Musk begged all manufacturers to do several years ago — build compelling electric cars. While everyone else from Ford and General Motors to Volkswagen, Mercedes, and BMW are promising such vehicles in the future, the offerings from Kia and Hyundai are here now … er, in 2019. Kudos to both for getting onboard the EV express ahead of the competition.
Now the big question is how many Hyundai is willing and able to produce. Surely, there will be more demand than supply for a long time to come.
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