The history of electrical cars sold in India hasn’t been great. Those on sale earlier had an extremely limited range, were not potent and, without a charging infrastructure to encourage them, they were also impractical. Now with all the conversation about electrics, the timing couldn’t have been better for the initiation of the Kona Electric — Hyundai’s first mainstream EV using a large range and a modern, practical cottage. Small surprise then that in a period of just 10 days, Hyundai acquired over 120 confirmed bookings. The Kona is available in a single’Premium’ version, in an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 23.72 lakh at 15 select dealerships across 11 cities in India.
The Kona EV is already an worldwide success. Since its launching in April 2018, it’s sold over 15,000 units worldwide. It is offered with two battery options — 64kWh and 39.2kWh — in global markets. Will it be practical to use? What’s the real-world selection? What are some of the creature comforts and luxuries you will have to give up when your money can be utilised to buy secondhand priced batteries? These and other questions are answered in our first all-electric road test in quite a very long time.
Hyundai Kona Electric Design
Hyundai India calls for the Kona that an SUV, but going by the proportions along with the design, this is more a crossover than a full-scale SUV. Even once you compare the measurements, the Kona is only a size bigger than the i20 Active. Creta-sized, it is not. But at 1,800mm, it is quite wide and includes an extended wheelbase too. The 17-inch metal wheels complete the picture and texture nostalgic into the car’s size.
The Kona doesn’t disappoint when it comes to defining itself as a futuristic automobile. Up front, you’ve got slim LED daytime running lights, below that would be the bi-functional LED projector headlights. Further, you have a sealed grille which helps channel the atmosphere in a much better way, providing the Kona EV an overall drag coefficient of 0.29. The grille also carries the CCS Type 2 charging port, so that you can conveniently park head-on to the charging region parking slot. This plastic’grille’ is badly constructed, however, and feels cheap. In profile, you can see a good deal of body cladding within the flared wheel arches, particularly in the rear, which add to the Kona’s off-roader appearance. The slender LED tail-lamps mimic the look of the front DRLs and sit atop the large turning mild.
The Kona Electric sits on a significantly modified version of the combustion-engine Kona’s system, also has MacPherson strut-type suspension up front and a sophisticated multi-link in the back. Although the Kona EV has not been crash-tested from the worldwide NCAP, the routine Kona did get a 5-star safety rating at the Euro NCAP. The electric version employs innovative high-strength steel. While there’s absolutely no engine, gearbox or fuel tank, the 39.2kWh, liquid-cooled, lithium-ion plastic battery pack sits on the floor — involving the four wheels in addition to under the back seat — and additional precautions are taken to make sure there is minimum damage to it in the event of an accident. The battery is composed of 90 cells wired in series to provide a voltage output of 327V, and it is connected to the engine by high-voltage orange wires.
Up front sits the 136hp, permanent-magnet synchronous engine which converts electric energy to the mechanical energy used to turn the wheels. How does it function? Simple, when current flows through the windings in the engine, it creates a magnetic field that, in turn, rotates the rotor and creates torque.
If you peek under the bonnet you will observe an on-board charger (OBC) and an electrical power control unit (EPCU) mounted on top of the electric motor. The on-board charger converts the outside alternating current (AC) from your house power source (wall sockets ) to direct current (DC) in order to control the high-voltage battery placed beneath the floor. An inverter (a region of the EPCU) is responsible for converting the DC supply from the battery to AC and sending it into the electrical motor, which creates torque to move the car ahead. Another 12V battery is used to power the Kona EV’s standard electronic equipment, such as infotainment, cottage lights and more.
Hyundai Kona Interior
Because of its price, the Kona Electric has a small cottage, so let’s talk relaxation first. Getting in and out of the front seats is not that difficult. You have to drop down on the seats rather than simply sliding them onto, like in certain SUVs. When in the driver’s seat, though, you have great frontal visibility. Rear visibility is not that good because of the tiny back windscreen. Front seats offer ample under-thigh and side support to keep you set up on corners. The driver’s seat also offers 10-way alteration with lumbar support, hence finding your perfect driving position is rather straightforward. Tall drivers might discover headroom to be tight, as the sunroof protrudes into the cabin.
There is plenty of helpful information including range, battery control, energy flow and different drive modes. On the left, you have a real-time drive indicator that shows the quantity of battery power being used when accelerating and the quantity of energy recovered through regeneration.
The horizontal design of the dashboard is really simple and doesn’t feel very exciting.
Soft-touch alloys are few and also the tough plastics do not really givea premium feel. Neither do most
of the buttons on the center console and steering, though they do havea very nice tactile feel to them. The 7.0-inch floating touchscreen in the centre is little but is at a nice height, and therefore you don’t need to tilt your head down too much to operate it. Even though the buttons on the sides of the display may look like they’re from a very old layout, they create touchscreen operation while driving much simpler and safer.
There are plenty of storage places to keep your daily stuff — the door pockets are adapting enough and the glovebox is also of a good size. The centre console has two or three cupholders, a storage compartment at the armrest, and an enclosed storage space beneath the AC controls. Since the Kona utilizes buttons instead of levers to change transmission modes (M, R, D and N ) and has an electric parking brake, you receive another storage spacebelow the console. This distance isvery usable and features a 12V charging socket as well as a USB charging slot.
Hyundai Kona Performance
Powering the Kona in India is a 136hp electrical motor which produces 395Nm of torque. The cabin is
Silent even when you push the start button and stays silent once you start driving with a light foot. You’ve got a choice of four drive manners (Eco, Eco+, Comfort and Sport), depending on the way that you wish to push. In Comfort mode, the car responds nicely to a tap on the accelerator and the drive is smooth and effortless. All you need to do to get a fast overtake is hit the accelerator pedal somewhat harder and the car jumps forward with a sudden surge. This makes closing gaps in traffic easy, and there is always enough power available. Switch to Sport mode, and answers to accelerator inputs are suddenly sharper. There’s now an instant flow of power when you bend your right foot; and occasionally, if you’re somewhat tough on the throttle, you get a good deal of wheel spin. Eco mode is much more inclined towards city-driving states; and even though the accelerator inputs are somewhat dull, it provides enough power to drive smoothly. Long-pressing the drive mode button participates Eco+, the most energy-efficient manner in which the Kona’s top speed is restricted to 90kph and the climate control is switched off (it could be switched on manually).
Hyundai Kona Buying and owning
The reduction in GST dropped the price of this Kona to Rs 23.72 lakh (ex-showroom, India). For the battery package, you receive an eight-year/1,60,000km warranty as well.
The Kona Electric, in the same way as any other EV, is a step towards the ideal aim of environment-friendly vehicles by bringing emissions to nil. Even though India still relies on fossil fuels for electricity production, EV adoption goes a long way towards reducing carbon emissions.
If this is not motivation enough, people also anticipate the price of power for conducting an EV to be much lower than what they would spend on fuel for a normal vehicle. Let’s break that down. The battery capacity of this Kona EV is 39.2kWh, so it requires approximately 40 units of power for a full charge (1kWh = 1 unit). In India, a single unit of electricity prices around Rs 8 (for residential places ) determined by the service provider. So the cost for a complete charge is around 40 units X 8 Rs 320. Going by our evaluations, in realistic driving conditions, it’s quite simple to get a variety of 300km. A petrol – or petrol-powered Elantra automatic, that is almost in exactly the same price bracket, could cost you Rs 5 per km (petrol price = Rs 65 per litre) and Rs 6.8 per km (petrol price = Rs 72 per litre), respectively.
Electric vehicles (and the infrastructure to support them) are still in their infancy in India. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the Kona is easily the most comprehensive EV to go on sale in India today. It has a powerful motor that offers good performance; and once you put in your own charger at home, provided you can, the Kona Electric also becomes functional. The battery permits you to travel 250-300km between charges in town and charging it costs next to nothing.
It is, true, lacking in a few areas. The interiors don’t feel really premium, especially for a Rs 25 lakh automobile — it’s cramped on the inside. The backseat isn’t comfy and while it feels nippy around corners, the steering lacks feel and feedback. The Kona’s largest challenge however is that Rs 25 lakh can rather get one of the best SUVs available in India; something such as a fully loaded Kia Seltos or even a Jeep Compass. Still, if you would like to be an early adopter of the electrical technology and are prepared to overlook a lack of dimensions, distance, relaxation and the additional conveniences that petrol and gas automobiles still have over EVs, The Hyundai Kona Electric could very well be your first electric. It sets very substantial standards for the near future EVs coming our way.