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Hyundai Kona Electric 2019 confirmed for Australia

The Kona Electric will join the Ioniq hybrid liftback and Nexo fuel cell SUV in Hyundai's line-up next year.
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

29 Mar 2018 • 4 min read

The all-electric version of the Kona has at last been officially confirmed for Australia, with Hyundai planning a late-2018 welcome party for its SUV EV.

It was first unveiled in Geneva in March, but Hyundai again peeled the covers off the world’s first fully electric small SUV at the New York motor show - only this time it has committed to bringing the Kona EV Down Under toward the end of this year.

In fact, the Kona has already secretly toured Australia - undergoing cold-weather testing in Jindabyne in winter last year - and a local ride evaluation and suspension tuning program is already underway in Oz.

And while a lower-output, lower-range Kona (serving up 99kW, 395Nm and a driving range of around 300km) is available overseas, Hyundai Australia is expected to only import the more powerful version equipped with a 64kWh lithium-ion battery.

Hyundai is expected to only import the more powerful version of the electric Kona. Hyundai is expected to only import the more powerful version of the electric Kona.

While Hyundai is so far keeping quiet on pricing, we do know to expect a two-trim Kona EV range, instead of the three-strong lineup offered for the conventional car.

That means our cars will deliver 150kW and 395Nm, and will be capable of driving up to an impressive 470km on a single charge. Happily, our version is also faster, with the longer-range EV Kona clipping 100km/h in just 7.6 seconds. Charging takes just under 10 hours using a standard connection, but a fast-charger will drop that time to around 55 minutes (to 80-per- cent capacity).

“We are very excited about the launch of the Kona Electric, which will join the IONIQ range and the NEXO Fuel Cell SUV - all of which will be coming to Australia later this year,” said Hyundai Australia’s Guido Shenken.

“These vehicles give us an opportunity to showcase the many capabilities Hyundai has as a leader in the low-emission and zero-emission drivetrain field. “Kona Electric will be competitive against our EV rivals, and it could very well become Australia’s top-selling electric vehicle.”

Inside, things look a little different. Inside, things look a little different.

Unlike the weird-looking EVs of yesteryear, you’ll pay no fashion penalty in opting for the green-powered Kona, with only a tweaked headlight design and sealed grille vents the only real indication of the electric motor within. Inside, though, things look a little different, including the new centre console and seven-inch driver display equipped with EV-specific functions like real-time battery status and usage stats.

The seven-inch central touchscreen is more conventional, and offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration. It’ll pair with an eight-speaker stereo.

And while full specification is yet to be confirmed, expect AEB with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and assist, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot detection to appear on a comprehensive standard safety list.

“Hyundai Motor is already leading in future mobility solutions,” said Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Vice President Marketing and Product for Hyundai Motor Europe. “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 - with Hyundai Motor, the future is now.”

Pricing is yet to be confirmed, of course, but we’d be tipping a circa-$50k starting point for Hyundai’s Kona EV. Which is rather a lot. But who ever said it was easy being green?

Would you consider an electrified Kona over its petrol drinking version? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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