Exclusive Electric Cars

Hyundai Kona Electric SUV to charge into NY Auto Show

This funky long-range EV will look to battle the Chevy Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3 later this year.

Hyundai

Hyundai revealed its Kona Electric small SUV at the Geneva Motor Show in early March, but at that time, the Korean automaker refused to confirm the model for North American distribution. Now, at a launch event for the Kona's gas-powered sibling, Roadshow has learned that the pure-electric model will debut for US and Canadian audiences at the New York Auto Show later this month.

As shown for overseas buyers, the front-wheel-drive, all-electric subcompact crossover features two different battery pack sizes, the larger of which is rated at 292 miles of range (on the more lenient European test cycle). The former relies on a 64-kWh battery, while the base version will receive a 39.2-kWh pack, good for 186 miles of range. 

It is not immediately clear if the Kona Electric for US and Canada will receive the same-size battery packs, but even if they are, their stated range will likely be somewhat shorter once evaluated on the US' more more-stringent test cycle. Either way, those range figures would seem to position the vehicle nicely against would-be rivals like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3 (although those vehicles are somewhat larger). 

If the Kona EV can deliver range similar to those vehicles, it would also significantly outdistance Hyundai's own Ioniq EV, which only musters a 124-mile range.

The Kona's electric motor provides 201 horsepower, but more importantly, it also provides 291 pound-feet of torque for good acceleration. 0-62 mph is quoted in 7.6 seconds, which means the Kona EV should be slightly quicker to accelerate than its conventional gas-powered siblings.

When the Kona Electric bows at the New York Auto Show, expect Hyundai to reveal select specs, but not confirm pricing. The model is pegged to go on sale in the States late in the third quarter, so more details will likely be disclosed closer to its arrival in dealers.

In the meantime, Hyundai's gas-powered 2018 Kona is hitting dealers right now.