2018 Hyundai Kona
2019 Hyundai Kona EV. Photo: Supplied

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Alex Rae | Feb, 28 2018 | 0 Comments

Hyundai has revealed its new Kona Electric ahead of an official debut at the 2018 Geneva motor show.

It enters the European market as the first sub-compact electric vehicle and, as reported by Drive last week, is coming to Australia by 2019.

The new EV isn't far removed from the Kona’s intrinsic design except for a revised front-end that doesn’t require the normal cooling and ventilation of an internal combustion-powered vehicle.

It has also grown 20mm taller and 15mm longer, but Hyundai says that the Kona, which was designed to house an electric drivetrain from the start, doesn’t sacrifice any of its interior space and comforts to fit in things like the large battery system.

Part of the brand’s push to offer ‘eco-friendly’ models in Australia, the Kona will join the new Ioniq EV, Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle as well as plug-in hybrid and hybrid small cars.

Hyundai’s second all-electric vehicle to date, it’s also the most powerful EV in its class and comes in two flavours; a long-range version providing up to 470km range or a shorter-range version for suburban commuting that's good for 299km.

The long range version is packed with a 64kWh battery that requires nine hours to fully charge from a normal power point found at home and uses a 150kW electric motor that generates up to 395Nm of torque. It helps push the emissions-free Kona from 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds, 0.3sec faster than the range-topping 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol currently on sale.

The reduced-range Kona receives a smaller 39.2kWh battery and 99kW electric motor, but produces the same amount of torque and completes the 0-100km/h dash in around 10 seconds – though it charges from a general power outlet (GPO) in six hours or to 80 per cent capacity in 54 minutes via a quick charger.

The electric motor is controlled with a fly-by-wire gear selector and the regenerative braking system can be adjusted using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters normally reserved for a traditional engine’s automatic transmission. 

Hyundai isn’t revealing all specifications yet, but both models will be packed with a safety suite including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.

Inside the same 7.0-inch infotainment system carries over with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but a new 7.0-inch ‘supervision’ monitor cluster provides key electric-vehicle performance information that's projected onto the heads-up display in the windscreen.

It will also be available in seven different colours with three roof colour options.

Hyundai Europe’s vice president of marketing and product, Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, says the electric Kona brings EV technology to consumers without any sacrifice to the model it's based on.

“By launching our all-new Kona Electric, we are pushing our ambitious eco car strategy forward. It's a car of no compromise – combining an SUV body type with electric-mobility. It represents Hyundai’s progressive character.” 

Pricing and full specifications are yet to be confirmed, as well as timing for an Australian delivery date.

Stay tuned to Drive as we report more details from the 2018 Geneva motor show next week.

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