Teaser image for Hyundai Kona Electric to be introduced at 2018 Geneva auto show
The lack of plug-in electric crossover utility vehicles with all-wheel drive is a growing and obvious gap in the market.
And where there’s a gap, aggressive South Korean carmaker Hyundai may try to fill it.
The company has now issued a teaser photo of the Hyundai Kona Electric small SUV it plans to unveil on February 27 before next month’s Geneva auto show.
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While the teaser image shows very little detail, we’d expect the electric Kona to share the same shape and bodywork as the conventional gasoline model.
But there will likely a few key differences, probably including a solid panel to replace the grille, as on the Ioniq Electric compared to that car’s hybrid and plug-in variants.
We’d also expect some blue trim accents to underscore its all-electric powertrain with zero tailpipe emissions.
The conventional Kona will arrive in the U.S. as a 2018 model and gives the Korean carmaker a subcompact crossover to expand its lineup in the hot-selling segment.
The model has been designed from the start for an all-electric version, giving Hyundai a rough equivalent to the Kia Soul EV electric tall wagon from its sibling company.
While Hyundai has provided few details and no specifications for the electric Kona as yet, it confirmed that it will be offered in some markets with two powertrain choices, presumably different battery capacities.
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The highest-range version—said to have a battery capacity of 64 kilowatt-hours—is targeting a range of almost 300 miles on a single charge, though that figure is likely to be on the Korean or NEDC test cycles.
A comparable EPA figure might be 230 to 250 miles.
The company also promises the Kona Electric will offer a “fun-to-drive character” plus the usual connectivity features, convenience options, and active-safety systems found in the best of the small-SUV segment.
Pre-orders for the electric Kona opened two weeks ago for customers in South Korea, and the company says it will go on sale in Europe this summer.
In November, Business Korea reported Hyundai and Kia together will target a combined 100,000 plug-in cars produced in 2018—thanks to increases in Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona Electric production.
The revised production plans include 21,000 Kia Niro EVs and 18,600 Hyundai Kona Electrics represent boosts of 38 percent for the electric Kona and 66 percent for the Niro EV.
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A concept version of the Kia Niro EV was shown last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with a stated electric range of 238 miles.
That’s the EPA range rating for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, coincidentally, indicating Kia (and now Hyundai as well) understand the significance of a 200-mile-plus range rating to lure buyers into their battery-electric models.
Like many global automakers, Hyundai has recently quickened the pace of its electric-car development and planned more models than anticipated even just three years ago.