Electric Cars

Hyundai Kona Electric: All the details you need to know

With its larger, optional battery, the Kona Electric has an estimated range of 292 miles.

Hyundai

When Hyundai unveiled the Kona Electric, we were dismayed to hear that it wouldn't immediately make its way to the United States. But in the event it does in the future, let's go through what makes it so intriguing.

There will be two versions of the Kona Electric to start. The less expensive variant will pack a 133-horsepower, 291-pound-foot electric motor mated to a 39.2-kWh lithium ion battery, which Hyundai estimates will provide for 186 miles of range by European measurements (US EPA figures trend lower), which is better than the 2018 Nissan Leaf. It'll hit 62 mph in an okay 9.3 seconds.

Even if the EPA range measurements drop the range a bit, the Kona Electric has some impressive specs.

Hyundai

The more expensive variant sees its electric motor's output boosted to 201 hp, with torque staying the same. Its lithium-ion battery is also much larger, with its 64-kWh capacity allowing for an estimated range of 292 miles, which launches it ahead of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and straight into Tesla territory. Acceleration is improved, as well, dropping the 0-62 time to 7.6 seconds.

From an aesthetic standpoint, not much changes between the gas and EV versions, save for a fancier-looking grille that obviously doesn't need to take up as much space, since there's no gas engine sucking in air. The charging port is hidden behind a panel on the driver's side of the grille.

Like many other new electrified vehicles, the Kona Electric packs an adjustable regenerative braking system hidden in the shift paddles, which generates a few extra electrons for the battery when slowing down.

It also packs a bunch of consumer tech that doesn't care what's powering the wheels. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation and wireless phone charging are all on offer. It also comes with Hyundai's SmartSense suite of active and passive safety systems, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist.

Given how competitive Hyundai's new electric SUV could be if it were launched in the US, I wouldn't be surprised if Hyundai changed its tune in the near future and brought it over here. At the very least, it would give buyers one more choice in a limited but growing segment.