Let’s take a look at what’s powering the Kona Electric first. Under that conventional hood is a not so conventional permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that makes a very healthy 134bhp and a massive 395Nm of torque. You also get driving modes to choose from namely Eco+, Eco, Comfort and Sport.
Driving on a racetrack, the other modes didn’t really make sense so Sport mode it was. Being an electric, there is absolutely no lag and the response is immediate. Acceleration is surprisingly brisk and it’s only the silent nature of the electric motor that masks the feeling of speed.
Hyundai claims a 0-100 kmph time of 9.7 seconds and that’s quicker than most large sedans and quick hatches. And there is no drop even after crossing 100 kmph as the speedo surges past 150 kmph effortlessly. It’s only after a 150 kmph that the Kona feels that it has reached its limits. For an electric city commuter those are fantastic numbers.
Getting to the most important bit now, the range. Hyundai claims a range of whopping 452 km on a single charge thanks to the high voltage, 39.2 kWh lithium ion polymer battery. Now that’s a massive figure considering the Kona will primarily be used for city commuting. Even after lapping the race circuit for a few laps, the Kona Electric held its charge pretty well and there was still plenty of battery life left.
But what remains to be seen is what the real world range will be like once we take the Kona on to the streets. As for charging, an 80% charge can be achieved in 57 minutes with DC quick charger, using the CCS Type II charging port, while a 7.2 kW Level-II charger takes 6 hours and 10 minutes.
Driving the Kona Electric around the track, it isn’t a sportscar, but the compact dimensions and the taut suspension set-up means it goes around the corners flat. The steering does not have any feel to it but sport mode adds some artificial weight to it. We can’t comment about the ride quality yet because we only drove on the flat smooth tarmac but driving a little outside the track, the Kona electric felt stiff but quite absorbing over broken surfaces. But the true test will be how it feels driving in the real world with potholes and large speed breakers.