The Hyundai Kona Electric is a competitive, compelling, popular electric vehicle. It has relatively long range (up to ~300 miles), a crossover type of size/class, and a relatively low price. As such, it’s one of the best selling electric vehicles in the world, and it’s also one of the top choices among police forces, particularly in Europe.
As that link above shows, police fleets in Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have bought Kona Electrics for some of their official duties. Add the Scottish police to the list of police forces using the Kona Electric.
Police Scotland, as the police force there is called, has decided to buy 180 Kona Electrics, all of them the 64 kWh battery option.
If 180 sounds like a lot even within the context of all of those other fleet orders, that’s because it is. This is Hyundai’s largest 100% electric fleet order ever.
Even bigger than that, though, is the remarkable number of fleet contracts Hyundai has secured this year. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Hyundai secured more than 200 fleet orders between the beginning of March and the end of August.
One issue has plagued the Hyundai Kona Electric for the majority of its time on the market, and Hyundai implicitly addressed that issue in its press release about this news. That issue has been lack of supply. Immediately after arriving on the market, the wait list for a Kona Electric was about one year in many places. That’s the one problem with a compelling package and high popularity, but it’s not like the Kona Electric was being produced in the volumes of the Tesla Model 3. Supply was simply far too limited by under-ambitious plans. Fairly recently, Hyundai has gotten production capacity, particularly in Europe, to a level that has allowed it to catch up with demand. In this press release about the Police Scotland order, Hyundai highlighted the progress without acknowledging the former problem:
“Thanks to Hyundai’s ability to quickly meet customer demand for all-electric vehicles within weeks of ordering, delivery of the first Kona Electric vehicles to Police Scotland will begin in this month with the full order due to be fulfilled by March 2021.”
While Hyundai highlights that vehicles are now shipped within weeks, though, do note that the end of that sentence indicated not all vehicles would be delivered until March 2021. It’s unclear, though, if that’s due to limited supply or just the cadence of the order and Police Scotland’s needs.
Notably, Police Scotland already has some electric vehicles in its fleet. That must have been part of the reason the police force felt so comfortable placing a 180 vehicle order. The crew would not have taken such a leap without a solid trial footing of electric cars.
Police Scotland has an ambition to lead the way in the UK, if not broader, in terms of electric vehicle adoption in the coming years. “Police Scotland’s Fleet Strategy is highly ambitious, with the aim of having the UK’s first ultra-low emission blue light fleet by 2030. This substantial contract marks a major step towards that goal by making ULEVs accessible to more of our officers and staff,” Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said. Here’s more from Kerr:
“Achieving our Fleet Strategy aims will significantly reduce carbon emissions, while also reducing maintenance and servicing costs. It’s one of many strides the organisation is taking to achieve a sustainable, flexible service which meets the needs of our fellow citizens while also providing a modern, fit-for-purpose fleet for our people to use in the course of their work.
“The gradual transition of our unmarked fleet from our current internal combustion engine vehicles to ULEVs will also assist with improving the existing fleet, as the age and mileage thresholds for replacing existing vehicles is being reduced. This means officers will have use of more modern vehicles while reducing maintenance and repair costs, at the same time as increasing the resilience of our contingency fleet.”
Hyundai was keen to note a few awards the Kona Electric has won in the UK this year. Shockingly, the company did not highlight that the Kona EV won the 2019 CleanTechnica Car of the Year award.
If I had to bet (legally, of course), I’d bet that we’ll have at least one more announcement this year of a police force ordering Kona Electrics. As is clear, the vehicle is a compelling option for this field, and any other police fleet buyer seeing this news of an 180 Kona EV order must be curious to learn a bit more about the car and perhaps go down the same road. Additionally, given how routinely Hyundai is announcing fleet orders like this, I presume the Korea-based automaker has a sales team focused on making sales like these.
Here are a few pictures of Hyundai Kona Electrics in Spain and Switzerland police forces for a better taster of what a Police Scotland fleet will look a bit like: