Hyundai Kona EV Wins 2019 CleanTechnica Car of the Year Award

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In our 2019 competition for the CleanTechnica Car of the Year, CleanTechnica staff lounging next to a rooftop pool on top of a luxury hotel (… or just sitting on our computers from the banal surroundings of our own homes …) came up with a list of the 5 new vehicles most likely to have a positive effect on society.

We then put that list of vehicles out in front of your eyeballs to choose a winner, via a simple one-question survey.

Hyundai Kona EV Test Drive

As the headline and picture above makes clear, the Hyundai Kona EV won the reader vote. It took in a sizable 42% of the vote.

The Kona EV’s close cousin, the Kia e-Niro, took the #2 spot with another 23% of the vote. Perhaps if the e-Niro’s pricing was out earlier, it could have given the Kona EV a better race for #1. We’ll see by the end of 2019 which model is picking up more sales steam (or electricity) and have a better sense if the Kona EV really deserved the win or if the e-Niro was more deserving of your votes. Until then, a big congrats to Hyundai for winning its first CleanTechnica Car of the Year award.

Third place was a close call between the Jaguar I-PACE (14%), which has put a big spark into Jaguar’s brand and global sales, and the Audi e-tron (13%), which is a key milestone EV in a popular car class that is a cornerstone of Audi’s efforts to revive its brand and hopefully lead in the new EV era. Again, we’ll have a better sense of which of these vehicles seems more skilled at positively shaping the future of society by the end of 2019. It should be a close call.

The Nissan LEAF e+, with just 9% of the vote, was probably crippled by the fact that it’s an iteration on the oldest EV model on the market. Perhaps people didn’t see the improvements as significant enough of a differentiator from previous versions of the model. Or perhaps voters are still unsatisfied with Nissan’s battery management system and/or think that the LEAF e+ just isn’t as competitive or influential as the other EV finalists. Nonetheless, the LEAF e+ should see strong sales in 2019, probably more than any of the other vehicles on this list. Ironic, isn’t it?

That said, I also voted for the Kona EV. I consider its styling, class, range, and price to be superb and presume that it could be the top selling vehicle on the finalist list if Hyundai secures enough batteries and really tries to sell the thing. My biggest concern is that Hyundai won’t secure a high number of batteries and won’t really try to sell the thing. We’ll see.

Note that we’ve already published one exclusive review of the Kona EV (in October), and we have another one coming in a few hours. While it’s not the fully electric version, we’ve also published a review of the Kia Niro PHEV. I’ll give you the spoiler: in all three cases, the reviewers loved these vehicles.

In case you missed our previous winners, they were:

  • 2018: Tesla Model 3
  • 2017: Chevy Bolt
  • 2016: Tesla Model X

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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