Hyundai unveils next-gen Kona EV, but leaves much to the imagination

Hyundai has unveiled its new second-generation Kona vehicle, including the Kona EV, hybrid, and ICE variants.

The Hyundai Kona and the Chevy Bolt have become a go-to vehicles for those looking for their first EV. The Kona’s entry-level price point and impressive specs for the money have attracted numerous buyers. It’s clear Hyundai is hoping for a similar reaction to the next-generation Kona EV it released yesterday.

The second generation of the Kona EV brings iterative technical changes and a refreshed design to the flexible platform, which still allows customers to choose from an ICE, EV, or hybrid version.

Hyundai’s new Kona EV is the star of the show, and the Korean automaker made that clear, stating that this was the first time the Kona had been designed for electrification first, with the ability to add a gas engine designed second.

The second generation Kona EV comes with a max range of 304 miles from its Long-Range 65.4kWh battery, though a smaller Standard-Range battery is also available with a capacity of 48.4kWh. Hyundai didn’t specify the range of the smaller battery, but assuming a similar efficiency as the Long-Range battery, it should have roughly 225 miles of range.

With the Long-Range battery, customers also receive a more powerful motor, providing an ample 217 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. The Standard-Range battery has a less powerful 156 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque motor.

While the vehicle’s power is only bumped slightly compared to the previous generation, the added ~50 miles of max range is undoubtedly a welcome addition to the platform.

With DC fast charging, the new Hyundai Kona EV will charge from 10-80% in 41 minutes. Hyundai didn’t specify if the charging time differed between the battery options. Sadly, neither vehicle is equipped with Hyundai’s phenomenal 800-volt architecture, which means the Kona EV’s charging time is essentially unchanged from the previous generation.

The more apparent upgrades coming to the new Kona are in design. Not only does the Kona receive the same angular design found on many of Hyundai’s larger SUV offerings, but it becomes slightly larger than the previous generation. Hyundai states that this change was made to provide the maximum interior space to occupants while retaining the vehicle’s mid-size categorization.

The Korean automaker also provides the Kona EV with a laundry list of features, making it a far more useful vehicle in numerous situations. Its most sought-after feature is likely its vehicle-to-load technology, allowing customers to plug in everything from a mini-fridge to a TV. Besides that, Hyundai also includes OTA updates with the vehicle, allowing it to improve consistently throughout its ownership.

But with all these details released, Hyundai left out the most important, the Kona EV’s price.

Hyundai sadly no longer qualifies for federal EV incentives in the United States that could dramatically lower the price of the vehicle for many consumers. And with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt cheaper than ever, both of which qualify for federal incentives, Hyundai may be in somewhat of a challenging situation.

Currently, the Hyundai Kona EV is listed for $33,550, roughly $13,000 more expensive than the Chevy Bolt with federal incentives, and only $2,000 cheaper than the base Tesla Model 3 with incentives.

Hyundai undoubtedly faces an uphill battle considering its lack of federal incentives. However, considering its success at attracting customers to its IONIQ Platform, the company still has a great shot of luring buyers nonetheless. Despite this hurdle, the automaker can hopefully still help more consumers electrify with its newest models.

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William Johnson: Will is an auto enthusiast, a gear head, and an EV enthusiast above all. From racing, to industry data, to the most advanced EV tech on earth, he now covers it at Teslarati.
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