Hyundai Kona Electric SUV Will Offer Two Batteries, Up To 210 Mile Range


In the car business today, you either build crossover SUVs and light pickup trucks or you go home. And if you really want to sell electric cars, you target them fit into those market segments. Hyundai has three SUVs in its model lineup — the Tucson, Santa Fe, and Santa Fe Sport — but none of them goes head to head with the hottest selling compact crossovers — the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Toyota CH-R,  and Jeep Renegade. The new Hyundai Kona is supposed to fill that gap in the lineup and will be the first electric SUV from the Korean manufacturer.

Hundai Kona electric SUV

The standard Kona is of little interest to the rabid electric car fans who frequent Gas2, but it will  have a battery electric version that will get the attention of EV fans. At first, the reports out of South Korea were that the electric Kona would have a 40 kWh battery, which most American car buyers would consider too small for their needs.

But now comes word that Hyundai will offer a larger 64 kWh battery in the Kona. So equipped, it will have 500 kilometers of range. Convert that to miles and adjust for the optimistic European test cycle and you wind up with an electric SUV that should have an EPA range of about 210 miles. Now we’re talking. That puts it close to the range of the Chevy Bolt (238 miles) and the base model Tesla Model 3 (220 miles). Base price of the Kona Electric with the larger battery is projected to be a whisker under $40,000 when it arrives in the US next year.

What is interesting about the Kona is that much of its powertrain comes from LG Chem, the same folks who provide the motor and battery for the Chevy Bolt. In fact, the motor for the Kona is the same 204 horsepower unit found in the Bolt. The battery size of the Kona is just slightly larger than that supplied to General Motors for use in the Bolt.

GM has just made a major announcement that it will have two new electric cars on offer within the next 18 months. As suppliers become more involved in the manufacturing process, some convergence between models should be expected. Will the Kona and one of the new GM electric car models be twin sons of different mothers? Could be.

When it gets here, the Kona Electric will have a full complement of electronic safety features and upgraded charging that will let it take advantage of the 150 kW chargers expected to become part of the charging infrastructure in coming years. It may not be suitable for the Rubicon Trail (few vehicles are, regardless of the macho stickers on their flanks) but it could be just what many shoppers want — an all electric crossover SUV that looks the part and has more than 200 miles of range. Bring it on!

Source: Side3 News, Norway  Hat Tip: Leif Hansen


About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • Epicurus

    Everything looks great except the price.

  • Arthur Burnside

    Don’t even think about buying electric until the Toshiba super batteries arrive in 2019.
    Don’t let anyone poh-pooh you into wasting money on electric vehicles that will be 50% obsolete as soon as the Toshiba batteries are available.

    • Oollyoumn

      I would never recommend buying an EV. In the garage I have an EV near the end of it’s lease, a PHEV near the beginning if its lease, and I will lease a new EV soon. The per month cost is less than most of my coworkers pay on their high polluting rides, and if the car becomes totally worthless, I don’t care. Just think how much ICE cars will depreciate if batteries see huge breakthroughs. I get green driving today, charging from solar, and not constantly delaying getting off fossil fuel while waiting for the next big thing.

    • Epicurus

      Is there a rush to buy Toshiba batteries by EV manufacturers?

      • TV Monitor

        No, LG is the battery king in EV world.

    • Zach Hafen

      Pure hearsay. Every month there’s another company or university claiming they have discovered the next generation of battery. Toshiba is no different. We’ll see something eventually, but 2019 is likely way too soon, and way too uncertain to be basing your purchasing decisions off of.

    • Al Sharpton

      The fact that you can get deep discounts on last year’s EVs means you should should consider it. If gas prices go back up, then roof solar + cheap EV as a daily driver is a big money saver.

    • bioburner

      Toshiba’s “new” batteries are only 100 WH/kg. With such a low energy density I would not expect to see them used in an EV. But otherwise those batteries are kick aXX. Some more development might change things for Toshiba.

  • kevin mccune

    I will say this right now, I think you are pretty well looking at the limits of Li Ion technology, that being said, for most uses its good enough.I would imagine there will be better batteries coming down the pike , I expect they will have a hefty price tag as well. What will not surprise me now is the fact the Korean auto makers will probably be the leaders in a year or two , 200 miles is plenty for me, if I never have to crawl under an ICE vehicle again to change the oil, service the various necessary gear boxes it wont be a minute too soon .

    • bioburner

      Got ya. I have not done an oil change since 2011.

  • Kel Dommage

    “In the AMERICAN car business today, you either build crossover SUVs and light pickup trucks or you go home”


    For Europe, neither are as important as the eco hatchback and the sedan. Incidentally – the Miata you love so much, not designed or built in the US. US sensibilities need a bit of checking before making grandiose statements. ( – I’m an American, living abroad now 20 years)

  • Hugh McBride

    I cant wait for it , I drive an Ioni

  • Nonni

    The styling on the front and back is an overload – TOO MUCH HAPPENING – ALL OVER !!

    • Cyrus Ramsey

      That’s literally every car these days. Look up the new Camry for a particularly bad example (but have a barf bag handy first)

  • awakeinwa

    Supercharger not

  • Cyrus Ramsey

    Looks fantastic! I just wish they’d stop with the SUV pretense and just call it what it is – a tall hatchback.

  • I am pretty sure the Bolt EV also has a 64 kwh battery, but they only advertise the 60 kwh usable. How do you know the motor is the same? Supposedly the Bolt EV uses a GM designed motor, but always questionable if that means GM asked for specific specs or if they own the IP.

  • Jehan Kateli

    Might be a tough sell if it’s just a hair under $40K. That’s double the price of the petrol Kona.