2019 Hyundai Kona Electric: Compact, Efficient & Strong

There’s no word on how much Hyundai will ask for their new 2019 Kona Electric, but you have to guess it would be cheaper than a Tesla Model X. The Model X runs for around $110,000 on average, and I bet for that price you could buy three, maybe four 2019 Hyundai Kona Electrics. Consider that, and also consider that Hyundai, as a company, isn’t going away any time soon.

I know that might not be all that fair, given Tesla’s preeminence in the EV world, but you have to keep in mind that Tesla is a very new company. And even if it was started with the best of intentions, no shortage of cash and ground-breaking technology, the road to competing in the car market is littered with other such noble failures from Tucker up to and including Elio.

Platform & Technology

The new Kona Electric is, apart from the EV drivetrain, just like a regular Kona. It rides on the same long wheelbase with short overhangs and wide track underpinned by a MacPherson strut front suspension, a multi-link rear suspension, and standard 17-inch alloy wheels. The Kona EV uses the same hot-stamping methods to produce lightweight, ultra-strong structural elements to maximize the cabin’s central safety cell. It has the same active safety features, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, and Driver Attention Warning.

And the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric also has all the standard infotainment one would expect: Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio, and Blue Link LTE-powered connectivity. The standard seven-inch color LCD display includes auxiliary inputs, voice recognition, and a Rear View Monitor. The available eight-inch touchscreen navigation display includes traffic flow and incident data via HD radio, Infinity premium audio, Clari-Fi music-restoration technology, and smartphone integration.

These “Blue Link” services are a big deal to Hyundai and all Kona Electric models include a complimentary three-year term. Blue Link has enhanced safety, diagnostic, and remote and guidance services, along with a list of connectivity tech: Google Home, Remote Start with Climate Control, Destination Search by Voice, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. The Kona Electric adds exclusive EV-oriented features such as Remote Charge Management, Charge Scheduling, EV Power History, and EV Range.

Hyundai anticipates some Kona Electric buyers will be downsizing from larger and/or higher-end vehicles. That said, the Kona Electric offers premium options, like a larger gauge cluster, heads-up display, power driver’s seat, and heated leather seats. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

Power & Performance

But it is, naturally, the EV features that will set the Kona Electric apart. The powertrain employs a high-efficiency 150 kW permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor supplied by a high-voltage 64 kWh lithium-ion battery. That’s good enough for 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft. of torque delivered to the front wheels. The battery system is liquid-cooled and operates at 356 volts. Battery pack energy density is 141.3 Wh/kg (greater than a Chevy Bolt Hyundai notes) with a total system weight under 1,000 lbs.

The Kona Electric utilizes a Level-II on-board charging system capable of a 7.2 kW rate of charge for rapid recharging. The estimated range of the Kona Electric is a – “generous” according to Hyundai – 250 miles. Not as good as a Model X, but still pretty good. Eighty percent charge can be had in 54 minutes with a Level-III quick charge. The 100 kW DC fast-charging capability is standard all Kona Electrics and for your charging convenience, the port is located in the front grille area.

The new Kona Electric employs a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension designed for agility and comfort on a variety of surfaces. The rear control arms are designed to minimize camber and toe changes throughout the suspension. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

Handy Tools

The other interesting thing found on the Kona Electric is the MyHyundai with Blue Link app. With this nifty little gizmo you can manage and monitor the Kona Electric remotely.

If you live in an area with different electric rates at off-peak times, you can schedule the Kona Electric to charge to reduce cost and peak demand on the electric grid based on time and date. For example, you could set up a charging schedule to start at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays on a weekly basis. Handy! Blue Link again for the win.

Manufacturing & Availability

The 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric will be produced in Ulsan, Korea and will arrive in the fourth quarter of this year.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Photos & Source: Hyundai Motor America.

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