Electrifying the Road Ahead: The 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Proves Superior to Its Gasoline Sibling

Electrifying the Road Ahead: The 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Proves Superior to Its Gasoline Sibling

Critique: Hyundai’s 2024 Kona Electric eclipses its petrol counterparts

Hyundai’s latest 2024 Kona models are hitting the market, with the company announcing the electric variant will hit showrooms in the latter part of the year.

It’s advisable to hold off, as the electric variant of Hyundai’s compact SUV is unequivocally superior to its counterparts.

Last week, we had the opportunity to test drive the prototype Kona Electric on two occasions amidst the undulating equestrian landscapes surrounding Baltimore, Maryland. The short experience revealed that the electric variant of the Kona operates with greater smoothness and silence, and its acceleration is on par with the highest-performing gasoline model.

The latest Kona is among a select group of cars available with both conventional fuel engines or electric options—the majority being BMW models—where the electric variant is evidently superior. This group features the high-end BMW i7, which outperforms its traditional fuel-based 7-Series counterparts.

Upcoming 2024 Model of the Hyundai

The unpredictable element in the competition between the 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric and other electric vehicles is its cost. Positioned slightly higher than the basic Venue model, the Kona serves as the introductory compact option for Hyundai’s SUV segment, targeting consumers who aren’t interested in the Elantra sedan. The latest models of the petrol-powered Kona have a starting price of $25,435, which is an increase of $2,200 from the previous year, and the prices go up to about $33,000.

The electric version of the 2023 Kona was tagged with a price that exceeded its petrol-based siblings by an astonishing $11,000. If this trend continues, we might see the 2024 iteration of the Kona Electric kicking off with a price tag in the neighborhood of $36,500, putting it in competition with the likes of the Tesla Model 3. However, the introduction of a model with a standard battery could present a more direct challenge to competitors such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Nissan Leaf.

The cost of the electric vehicle remains undisclosed, with details expected to emerge in the upcoming autumn season, leaving room for conjecture in the meantime.

2024 Model of the Hyundai Kona Electric

2024 Model of Hyundai Kona with Electric

2024 Model of the Electric Hyundai Kona

Is the Hyundai Kona Electric actually an electric vehicle? It’s not immediately obvious

At a glance, the primary indicator that the 2024 Kona is an electric model rather than a traditional gas-powered vehicle is located at the front end. Both the electric and gas versions feature a slender, continuous strip of light that stretches across the front, just beneath the edge of the hood. However, on the electric variant, this strip consists of numerous small pixel-like lights, which are also present on the tail light and along the bottom edges of the bumper.

The EV features prominently designed wheel arches that match the car’s body color, in contrast to the Kona’s black ones. Instead of a grille for cooling, the electric version has a sealed front. On the left side of the front end, there’s a charge-port door that’s opened by hand. Additionally, there’s a small storage space beneath a black plastic lid at the front, which is perfect for keeping the charging cable.

2024 Model of the Hyundai Kona,

2024 Model of the Hyundai Kona Electric

Upcoming 2024 Hyundai Kona EV

Within the cabin, the pair of vehicles feature nearly identical components. The latest models include a rotary drive selector situated to the right of the steering wheel. The Kona Electric, however, boasts extra display options for information and preferences, integrated into the dual 12.3-inch horizontal screens.

Props to Hyundai for incorporating a level rear floor in the 2024 Kona Electric, significantly enhancing comfort for the occasional third passenger in the back seat. It might seem minor, but in a compact car, it’s quite impactful. Additionally, there’s an extra 3.0 inches of legroom in the back seat compared to the previous model.

Upcoming 2024 Electric Model from Hyundai

The range of hues varies: There are six common paint options for both the electric and traditional versions, featuring the expected hues of white, silver, dark grey, and black, alongside a green and yellow option. However, exclusively available on the Kona Electric is the special Meta Blue, a shade that blends silver and blue, while this electric variant doesn’t come in any red shades. Additionally, the Kona Electric’s Limited version is distinguished by its exclusive Sage Green faux leather interior.

Hyundai’s latest Kona Electric comes in two battery options. The base model includes a 48.6 kWh battery, whereas the larger capacity variant boasts a 64.8 kWh battery. Expected travel distances vary, with the Standard Range predicted to achieve up to 200 miles according to EPA ratings, and the Extended Range capable of reaching 261 miles, narrowly surpassing the 2024 Chevy Bolt EV by 2 miles.

The mechanics of the vehicles are comparable, however, the engine performance is restricted by software when equipped with the smaller battery option, which delivers an output of 133 horsepower (99 kilowatts). In contrast, the Extended Range version receives an increased power capacity of 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts).

At the test drive event, Dean Schlingmann, who specializes in hybrid and electric vehicle powertrains, discussed his role in developing the latest drive motor for the 2024 Kona Electric. Speaking to Green Car Reports, he explained that while the prior model’s motor offered significant power at 3600 rpm, it lost effectiveness at increased speeds. The Hyundai team consciously reduced the maximum power of the new motor to prolong the power range to 6000 rpm, which maintains consistent power at higher speeds. This adjustment also resulted in an efficiency improvement of 1-2%.

2024 Model of Hyundai Kona, Fully

The Kona Electric is designed with a front-wheel-drive system, and unlike its gasoline-powered counterparts, it does not offer an all-wheel-drive option. To obtain an all-wheel-drive feature in a Hyundai electric vehicle, one must upgrade to the bigger Ioniq 5, which is expected to cost at least an additional $10,000 for similarly outfitted models.

The integrated charging system has been upgraded to function at 11 kilowatts, an increase from the previous 7.2 kilowatts, reducing the Level 2 charging duration for the bigger battery to 6 hours, down from 9.5 hours the previous year. Although the maximum rapid-charging capacity has increased to 85 kilowatts from the previous 75 kilowatts, achieving a 10-80% charge for the bigger battery will still require at least 40 minutes.

2024 Edition of Hyundai’s Electric Kona

Upcoming 2024 Electric Model from Hyundai

Test-driving the Hyundai Kona Electric: Impressively quick

At the debut event for the Hyundai Kona Electric, there were just a couple of Extended Range prototype models available for testing. The drive was confined to brief 10-minute circuits, further hindered by the presence of seven police vehicles from different areas that had completely shut down an important intersection in the vicinity. We took the wheel for the first circuit and then joined another driver as a passenger for the next.

Right off the bat, one can see that driving the Kona Electric offers a more enjoyable experience compared to its 1.6T counterpart, which comes with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The petrol version boasts a power output of 190 horsepower at 6,000 revolutions per minute, but often necessitates multiple gear reductions to tap into its overtaking power as the turbo takes time to kick in. This is a consequence of the vehicle’s calibration and the selection of higher gear ratios, which are aimed at adhering to the stricter fuel efficiency standards while still maintaining the capability to match the pace of fast-moving traffic.

The Kona Electric offers immediate acceleration as soon as you step on the gas, which is typical for electric vehicles. When you’re behind the wheel, you experience steady acceleration; it’s not built for high-speed performance, nor does it provide the kind of forceful acceleration that takes your breath away. It’s adequately fast without falling into the high-speed category, and the response from the accelerator is noticeably smoother compared to the older model—exactly as Schlingmann had mentioned to us.

2024 Model of Hyundai Kona, Fully

2024 Model of Hyundai’s Kona Electric

Upcoming 2024 Electric Model from Hyundai

When driving, the electric Kona offers a sturdier sensation, and thanks to the battery placement beneath the passenger compartment enhancing the vehicle’s balance, it maintains good traction and handles turns effectively. Schlingmann points out that the weight disparity between the electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) models of the SEL variant is just 250 pounds. However, the electric vehicle appears to have a more significant heft than you’d expect from such a small weight variation in a car that weighs 3,100 pounds.

Consistently, the operator of the vehicle must manually activate the single-pedal functionality after each restart, a hassle not encountered in competitors such as the Bolt EV which retains the setting even after turning off the ignition. Nevertheless, with the 2024 Kona Electric’s updated i-Pedal feature, the need for the driver to apply the brakes when decreasing to approximately 5 mph is eliminated. The car will decelerate to a complete halt on its own, enhancing the driving experience for those who favor using just one pedal.

Anticipated pricing suggests that the Extended Range model will likely be the favored option among the two Kona Electric variants, with the Standard serving to provide a tempting entry-level price point in a more basic package. A clearer picture should emerge as further information on the various trim levels and their costs is released, leading up to the vehicle’s market launch.


Green Car Reports was able to deliver this first-hand driving review thanks to Hyundai, which covered the cost of transportation, accommodation, and food.




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